Researchers show origami robot




Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have shown themselves robot folding a heating element. Then swim or move the little robot reproduces by an externally generated magnetic field.

Researchers at MIT and the Technical University of Munich worked together on the robot, on Wednesday presented was at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Seattle. The project was as a finalist in the category ‘Best Conference Paper.

In measuring the initial state then 1.7 square robot with 1,7cm; The weight is 0.31g. The device consists of a cube-shaped neodymium permanent-magnet which is surrounded by a PVC plate, that are between two layers of polystyrene or paper clamped for firmness. The exterior has been intersected in some places with fold lines. Before the robot works, it must fold itself. This is done by placing the robot on a heating element. As a result, shrinking the PVC, so that occurs within one minute to the final shape.

Once ready the device can be moved over a work surface. The researchers used therefor four electromagnets each of which covering an angle, in order to drive the robot in the desired direction. The magnetic field is turned on and off with a frequency of 15 Hz. The magnet in the robot is oscillating with it, so that the ‘legs’ of the device alternately come into contact with the surface. Because the robot deliberately not balanced, he “runs” a certain direction, with speeds of up to 3 to 4 cm / s. Steering is achieved by the magnetic field generated by changing the electromagnets beneath the surface.

The advantage of a robot in this way folded above a flat device is that it is also working on a water surface. Moreover, the design is more efficient, according to the researchers for moving objects; they allow a movie to see how the device moves an object twice as heavy as himself. In addition, the robot for each task can be optimized. According to the researchers would be the folding process also can take place in several steps, so that the robot can perform any task as well as possible.

When the device is ready, it can simply be thrown in acetone. The robot then dissolves itself in, only the magnet remains. In the future, the outer layer of the robot has to be made of a material that dissolves in water. The researchers also want to integrate sensors in the robot so it can operate autonomously. Eventually they see applications for their discovery of the human body.


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