MIT researchers have developed a tiny origami-style robot that folds itself up, does a bunch of cool moves, and can be dissolved in acetone.
This amazing robot premiered at the 2015 ICRA Conference in Seattle, Washington. It represents the first time a robot was able to demonstrate a complete life cycle like this, and the hope is that one day it will be able to perform these actions inside a human body.
“…we present a novel single-sheet structure that self-folds into a centimeter-sized mobile robot that subsequently walks, swims, and dissolves. The robot is controlled using an external magnetic field exerted by embedded coils underneath the robot. Equipped with just one permanent magnet, the robot features a lightweight body yet can perform many tasks reliably despite its simplicity. The minimal body materials enable the robot to completely dissolve in a liquid environment, a difficult challenge to accomplish if the robot had a more complex architecture. This study is the first to demonstrate that a functional robotic device can be created and operated from the material level, promising versatile applications including use in vivo.”
Check out more photos and the incredible video of the robot in action after the break.
You can read more about the origami robot in the MIT paper entitled “An Untethered Miniature Origami Robot That Self-folds, Walks, Swims, and Degrades” (PDF).