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Composite Robots Folded Like Origami

March 3, 2012

Origami-folded robot. Photo courtesy of Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory.

Researchers at Harvard University are hard at work developing tiny pop-up flying robots by folding carbon fiber. These robotic bees are assembled using layers of materials that can be folded on top of each other in a machine instead of manufacturing individual components by hand. According to the team, they use “origami techniques to fold the material like a children’s pop-up book.” This makes the product faster and cheaper to produce. Harvard researchers suggest the new technology could be used to pollinate small fields and help find missing campers.

The published papers will be available in the next issue of the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering. Next they hope to solidify the design to prevent parts from wiggling and wasting energy.

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