Printable Folding Construction Demonstrated With Robots

Sometimes you just can’t get from where you are, to where you want to be, in one step. For example, open hardware tends to work with stock materials, which means flat sheet is popular. It’s usually cheaper to obtain and work than a large block of the same material. But there aren’t very many ways to use a flat sheet if it stays a flat sheet. A couple popular ways to fold a flat sheet into a useful volume are illustrated.

Folding box by YanaPonoko. Thingiverse #17659

Parametric Flex Box by Juerd. Thingiverse #17327

Can this folding idea be taken even farther? For example, can we fold flat surfaces not just into structures, but into mechanisms as well?

The answer is yes.  Also, robots.

Pop-up Fabrication of the Harvard Monolithic Bee (MoBee). The Harvard Monolithic Bee is a millimeter-scale flapping wing robotic insect produced using Printed Circuit MEMS (PC-MEMS) techniques. This video describes the manufacturing process, including pop-up book inspired assembly.

This video shows three of the first devices to be prototyped at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) using a new technology that could make it possible for the average person to design, customize and print a specialized robot in a matter of hours.

DASH (Dynamic Autonomous Sprawled Hexapod) is a resilient high-speed 16-gram hexapedal robot. Developed by P. Birkmeyer & R.S. Fearing, Biomimetic Millisystems Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley.

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