A Self-folding Paper Robot

trans_125Once in a while researchers like to let their hair down and invent things like this: a piece of paper that can fold itself into a robot in under 5 minutes. Oh, and that robot can then scuttle away to do your bidding! In the academic journal Science, graduate engineering student Sam Felton and his team at the Harvard School of….I know, I know: get to the robot already.

The technique involved printing electronic circuits directly onto a sheet of paper, adding a microprocessor…and Shrinky Dinks. That’s right, those pieces of plastic that shrink in the oven from back in the day when we were all much easier to amuse. The microprocessor turns on and off tiny heaters at select parts of the paper, forcing them to constrict, and thus fold themselves.

Check out all the science-y bits, as well as elapsed video of the robot transforming, right here.




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