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Robotics Technology

Untethered Miniature Origami Robot That Self-Folds, Walks, Swims, and Degrades 27

jan_jes writes: MIT researchers demonstrated an untethered miniature origami robot that self-folds, walks, swims, and degrades at ICRA 2015 in Seattle. A miniature robotic device that can fold-up on the spot, accomplish tasks, and disappear by degradation into the environment promises a range of medical applications but has so far been a challenge in engineering. This work presents a sheet that can self-fold into a functional 3D robot,actuate immediately for untethered walking and swimming, and subsequently dissolve in liquid. Further, the robot is capable of conducting basic tasks and behaviors, including swimming, delivering/carrying blocks, climbing a slope, and digging. The developed models include an acetone-degradable version, which allows the entire robot's body to vanish in a liquid. Thus this experimentally demonstrate the complete life cycle of this robot: self-folding,actuation, and degrading.
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Untethered Miniature Origami Robot That Self-Folds, Walks, Swims, and Degrades

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  • by fche ( 36607 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @08:54AM (#49804449)

    The mechanics are lovely, but it's funny to define "complete life cycle" their way, as though death/destruction were an interesting or difficult achievement of life (or machine operation).

  • by trout007 ( 975317 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @09:01AM (#49804467)

    This isn't a robot as there is no internal power source, controls, or actuators. It is a very clever mechanism that responds to outside temperature and magnetic fields.

  • Site in the first link is down... slashdotted?
  • Gaff's origami unicorn means Deckard's a skinjob or maybe not.

  • so how long does it last if you don't put it in or near water?

    • by matfud ( 464184 )

      There are three versions according to the presented paper.

      "The developed origami robot. (a) (From left to right)
      water-degradable model whose outer layer dissolves in water;
      conductive model (aluminum coated polyester); acetone-degradable
      model whose entire body (except magnet) dissolves in acetone. "

  • All that is left is for the little critter to learn to reproduce itself. That might be easier than one might think if it only involves assembling components but if is defined as also creating all the components it is much more difficult. Human fetuses do not create their won components by comparison. After that we need to build in a "Darwin Effect". In other words the little robot should find better and better designs for itself which computers and net connections could provide. At some point we must def
  • From the summary

    The developed models include an acetone-degradable version, which allows the entire robot's body to vanish in a liquid.

    From the paper;

    acetone-degradable model whose entire body (except magnet) dissolves in acetone.

  • Re-use is better than recycling. Recycling is better than disposal or destruction.

    • Because these types of things may go where you can't easily get them back. Or rather, where it would be cost prohibitive to get them back at least. In the medical field, the ideal would be for the robot to simply dissolve harmlessly after a period of time. Sending a micro-robot into a body would be easy. Getting it back out seems like it would be harder.

      Anyhow, recycling is most beneficial when done on a mass scale (i.e. an entire population's consumption of raw materials).

  • video (Score:3, Informative)

    by feddas ( 1979736 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @02:54PM (#49805645)

    found a video: http://www.youmaker.com/video/... [youmaker.com]

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