At the recent International Conference on Robotics and Automation Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Technische Universität München (TU Munich) . Have unveiled a small origami robot that can fold itself, walk around, and even self-destruct. Small enough to sit on a fingertip ,Weighing only a third of a gram, the robot can swim, climb an incline, traverse rough terrain, and carry a load twice its weight.
The robot’s design was motivated by a hypothetical application in which tiny sheets of material would be injected into the human body, navigate to an intervention site, fold themselves up, and, when they had finished their assigned tasks, dissolve.They also possess skills that may come in handy to combat human ailments. Experts believe this new technology can be used to help doctors perform key medical operations from within the patient’s body.
A multi-stage folding process can also be achieved by heating the robot at varying degrees. Low heat can give the shape-shifting robot one form, but placing it back on the heating pad and raising the temperature can result in a secondary design. The Only component is a permanent magnet affixed to its back. Its motions are controlled by external magnetic fields. Its amazing self folding powers can be attributed to the sheet of polyvinyl chloride embedded within each of the several prototypes created by its inventors to find the optimal material. The commonly found plastic contracts when subjected to temperatures of about 150° F.
Instead using a set of wires to make the robot move, it uses an external magnetic field made up of four coils to guide it along its path. These magnets power its movement by cycling on and off at 15 hertz. MIT graduate student Cynthia R. Sung, co-developer of the robot says unlike traditional robots, all these motions are “embedded into the mechanics of the robot body.” This means that it does not need external “legs,” motors, or other movement enabling appendages to be mobile.
This causes the magnet that the robot is attached to oscillate back and forth, and the robot oscillates as well. As this happens, the front and back legs of the robot alternately contact the ground, and the asymmetry of the design combined with the intentionally off-center balance point causes the robot to walk forward. None of this works with the robot in its unfolded, flat configuration: it has to be folded into this shape to walk at all. The Smaller robot could be inserted into an individual’s body, navigate through the bloodstream, perform medical tasks and then eventually dissolve in the stomach.
The technology could also be used for planetary explorations. The robot could be programmed to collect various soil samples or even journey through small cracks in the ground.
Adapted : MIT