It self-folds, walks and even swims – then recycles itself when its job is done.
Made byand colleagues at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a 1.7-centimetre-long origami robot made of plastic and containing a magnet can be “programmed” by an external magnetic field.
The mini-machine is made of three layers of material. Thanks to polyvinyl chloride, which contracts when heated, the 3D robot is created from a flat sheet that folds up along cut marks at a temperature of 65 °C.
Using liquid-soluble materials, different versions of the robot can dissolve in either water or acetone, leaving only the permanent magnet behind.
“We complete the cycle from birth through life, activity and the end of life,” says Miyashita. “The circle is closed.”
at the in Seattle, Washington, last month.
If you would like to reuse any content from New Scientist, either in print or online, pleasedepartment first for permission. New Scientist does not own rights to photos, but there are a available for use of articles and graphics we own the copyright to.
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.