10 Feb '12, 2pm

Origami Robots Make Complex Movements With Just Paper and Air

Origami Robots Make Complex Movements With Just Paper and Air

You remember that freaky air-powered boneless robot , right? Well, the same group that unleashed that thing on the world (George M. Whitesides ' lab at Harvard) has started to manufacture these beautiful (and superbly functional) air-powered origami robotic actuators out of paper and elastic. These "soft pneumatic actuators" are constructed by combining paper with a silicone elastomer called Exoflex in a mold and casting the composite so that they contain internal pneumatic networks. The process is fast, easy, inexpensive, and repeatable. When the pneumatic networks are inflated with an external source of air, the elastomer expands, creating an actuator. The key to the funky shapes that these actuators can make is to use paper to constrain the ways in which the elastomer can bend. The simplest form of this is to just place a piece of paper along one side of the elastomer s...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/diy/origami-r...

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