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August 17, 2010 / Martijn

Shape-Shifting Robots

By combining origami and electrical engineering, researchers at MIT and Harvard are working to develop the ultimate reconfigurable robot—one that can turn into absolutely anything.The researchers have developed algorithms that, given a three-dimensional shape, can determine how to reproduce it by folding a sheet of semi-rigid material with a distinctive pattern of flexible creases. To test out their theories, they built a prototype that can automatically assume the shape of either an origami boat or a paper airplane when it receives different electrical signals. The researchers reported their results in the July 13 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

via Shape-Shifting Robots | News | Communications of the ACM.

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