First Robot Capable of Transforming Itself Without Human Intervention
Researchers at the Wyss Institute in Harvard, US, have created the first self-folding robot that can function without external assistance. The robot was designed in partnership with engineers at MIT and is made of sheets of paper and plastic with embedded electronics. The robot incorporates shape memory polymers that contract when heated to 100 degrees celsius. As the structure cool it becomes rigid and capable of movement.
The whole process from start to finish takes approximately four minutes. When ready the machine can crawl/walk at a speed of 2 inches (5 centimetres) per second. No previous self-folding approach has yielded a machine that functions without additional outside assistance, so this represents an advancement in this area. Industry experts are excited at the prospect of upscaling this idea and creating more complex machines that can perform useful tasks in potentially hazardous conditions.