Issue: May 2015
Structures in nature frequently combine hard and soft materials and exhibit functional and geometric features ranging from microscopic to macroscopic. To assist in developing new bio-inspired structures and mechanisms, we present a multi-material fabrication process for creating flexible structures with feature lengths ranging from centimeters to micrometers in a single structure. The process is demonstrated for a flexible gripper that grasps curved surfaces using gecko-inspired adhesives.
Robogamis are low-profile robotic sheets with multiple bending degrees of freedom. Layer by layer fabrication method of these robots allows embedment of different functional layers. The sub-millimeter thickness of Robogamis enables diverse transformations as those achievable by the paper Origami. The presented Robogami shows the first fully integrated version that has all the essential components for locomotion of a crawler robot.
Origami-inspired robot designs have the potential to be faster, cheaper, and easier to fabricate than robots made through traditional manufacturing methods. In this paper, we show how a variety of basic joints used in robots can be folded from a flat sheet. The joints can be combined with each other and with rigid bodies to produce entire foldable linkages that can be actuated using circuitry integrated directly on the linkage surface. We have designed, folded, and actuated two robots using our joints, showing that it is possible to create robots using a uniform print and fold process.