Researchers at Harvard University and collaborators at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed robots that self-fold, take shape and crawl without any human help.

These robots were inspired by the ancient Japanese art of origami.

The robots are made from flat layers of heat-shrinking polymer. Elements embedded within the layers of polymer provide heat, which allows the robot to self-construct.

The team created this flat-layered design, including self-folding hinges that are controlled by the heat elements. The robot can walk, too. This is possible thanks to motors and batteries incorporated while the robot is flat.

Researchers on the project believe that there are large numbers of applications for self-folding devices such as structures for space exploration, use in humanitarian aid and war zones.

The hope of researchers is that they will be able to provide tools so everyday people can build complex structures for whatever they need at a low cost.

Information compiled from
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