A team of researchers from MIT and Harvard University have developed an origami robot made of parts manufactured from a laser cutter that can fold itself up and move when batteries are attached to it.
The concept is similar to bakeable robots introduced by MIT researchers earlier this year, but instead of heating the robots with uniform heat in an oven, these new robots feature a network of electric leads that generate heat to start the folding process. The robots are built with five layers of different materials that are all cut with a laser cutter according to digital patterns. The middle layer is made of copper and etched with an electrical lead network, the next two layers are structural layers of paper, and the outer layers are a shape-memory polymer. Once all the materials are layered together, a microprocessor and at least one motor are attached to the top layer. The robots demonstrated motion generation and how two folds are necessary to make arbitrary shapes.