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What are origami robots and how a new and extraordinary material makes them flexible

The new horizon of robotics is inspired by the Japanese art of folded paper

The origami is the
Traditional Japanese art that transforms a simple sheet of paper into complex three-dimensional figures following a specific series of folds, creases and wrinkles.

 Foldable or soft based on that principle are at the forefront of robotic design.

Several research centers and academic institutions have been developing various types of
cutting-edge technology origami robots.

They are being tested in several applications, from the administration of medications within the human body, search and rescue missions in disaster areas to humanoid robotic arms.

The technology still has its limitations since the folds and folds of a soft robot imply that the materials must be thin, flexible and, at the same time, electricity conductors. However, a new material may be solving that obstacle.

The surgeon robot

The Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (CSAIL), in 2017, developed a small robot that bends over itself using a series of magnets.

First, it can take different forms or be coated with exoskeletons, depending on the situation, transforming from a bucket to a small vehicle or a motorboat.

The robot has its own engine and can travel by land, water or air, pick up objects, load them or move them.

The robot The "First" robot in its different transformations

One of the objectives of CSAIL is to ensure that "Primer" can perform different types of surgery, such as bandaging wounds, removing objects or taking samples.

"Imagine running the engine as if it were a pldora and then passing all the exoskeletons that will provide the robot with different tools," explained Professor Daniela Rus, director of CSAIL.

"With that we have a mini surgeon who can perform procedures on your body without the need for incisions."

Robotic arm

In 2018, a team of researchers from Sel National University, South Korea, were inspired by origami to develop a
Robotic folding arm, which assembles itself and is also highly rigid.

They designed it using a concept of variable stiffness that allows it to change shape through a single cable, increasing the possibilities of practical uses of the structure.