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.
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."
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.
The robotic arm is lightweight and can be folded up to be flat or automatically extended like a parasol and gain instantaneous stiffness.
The benefits of a robotic arm can be maximized when it adheres to a drone, where the weight and size limits are extreme.
Attached to a drone, the arm can be extended to grab an object or inspect within a narrow and deep space. Then it can be folded when it is flat, when it is not active.
These origami or soft robots have multiple uses, such as in rescue missions or in the inspection of remote and difficult access lands.
New flexible and conductive material
Chen Po-Yen (right), assistant professor at the National University of Singapore and PhD student Yang Haitao, developed with the team of researchers flexible, resistant and lightweight metal material
One of the problems of this technology is that, since robots must be flexible, they are often made of soft materials such as paper, plastic and rubber.
To be functional, they have to adhere sensors and electrical components that add volume to these devices.
Now, however, a team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has found a new formula to create a metal-based material that can be used in these
By combining metals such as platinum with burnt paper ash, they have created a material with increased characteristics that maintains the flexibility and lightness of traditional paper and plastic.
The material, with which they have built a small central frame, weighs half of the paper and its metallic properties make it functional without the need to add additional sensors.
This new invention opens the door to the construction of more flexible and lighter, more energy efficient and heat resistant braces, which can both receive signals more effectively and send immediate information back to the patient to develop a fine motor control .
The metallic material produced has a thickness of 0.09mm, composed of 70% platinum and 30% amorphous carbon (ash) that is flexible enough to bend and stretch. Other metals such as gold and silver can also be used.
"Our invention expands the collection of unconventional materials for the manufacture of advanced robots," said Yang Haitao, a PhD student from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NUS.
The next step is to incorporate active electromagnetic materials to provide the material with its own source of energy and to develop autonomous robots. The research team also experiments with other metals such as copper to reduce production costs.
What are origami robots and how a new and extraordinary material makes them flexible – LA NACION