Self Assembling robot at 1.7cm square.
MIT Scientists have developed this amazing little “robot” that resembles an tiny origami piece.
The Miniature Origami Robot is powered by a small neodymium magnet and four electromagnetic coils underneath the robot’s surface. These create magnet fields necessary for it to operate.
The robot has the ability to walk on a variety of different surfaces, climb, carry objects twice its own weight, swim, burrow amongst other things.
The robot also has the ability to dissolves in an acetone solution leaving behind just the magnet.
Researchers hope to develop even smaller autonomous robots with additional sensors that can dissolve in water.
The unfolded (flat) robot, which is made of a magnet and PVC sandwiched between laser-cut structural layers (polystyrene or paper), weighs just 0.31 g and measures 1.7 cm on a side. Once placed on a heating element, the PVC contracts, and where the structural layers have been cut, it creates folds.
Image: MIT – The origami robot and the actuation methods. (a) Outlook of the system. (b) The crease pattern. (c) Walking mode by torque-based control. (d) Swimming mode by force-based control.
In under a minute, the robot is finished, and is ready to go, zipping around at speeds of between 3 and 4 cm/s.
Uses for tiny robots
So what could these tiny devices help with I hear you ask? There are a number of medical uses when considering introducing these little guys inside of a human body, maybe targeting cancer cells or cleaning clogged arteries.