Self-folding tiny origami robots

Watch the frenetic behavior.

“It’s called a one-degree-of-freedom structure, in which you just need to turn one crank and the whole thing moves in the way that you want,” Demaine explains. “It lets you transfer just one degree of freedom into a whole complicated motion, all through the mechanics of the structure.”


This is an evolution of the team’s earlier work.

  • on board batteries (?)
  • a network of electrical leads, … delivers heat to the robot’s joints to initiate folding
  • a shape-memory polymer that folds when heated
  • one or more small motors
  • automatically convert any digitally specified 3-D shape into an origami folding pattern.

How long does it’s on board power last? Is it feasible to combine with BEAM style “solar engine” technologies (or other power harvesting)? Is the folding-code available?

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