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This paper presents an origami-inspired technique which allows the application of 2-D fabrication methods to build 3-D robotic systems. The ability to design robots as origami structures introduces a fast and low-cost fabrication method to modern, real-world robotic applications. We employ laser-machined origami patterns to build a new class of robotic systems for mobility and manipulation. Origami robots use only a flat sheet as the base structure for building complicated bodies. An arbitrarily complex folding pattern can be used to yield an array of functionalities, in the form of actuated hinges or active spring elements. For actuation, we use compact NiTi coil actuators placed on the body to move parts of the structure on-demand. We demonstrate, as a proof-of-concept case study, the end-to-end fabrication and assembly of a simple mobile robot that can undergo worm-like peristaltic locomotion.
Date of Publication: April 2013