Watch as this tiny origami robot builds itself, performs tasks then disintegrates

By Shawn Knight ยท 10 replies
May 29, 2015
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  1. Researchers from MIT recently unveiled a tiny, untethered robot that can both build and dismantle itself. The robot tips the scales at a third of a gram and measures just 1.7cm in length.

    A small heat source is all that’s needed to get the robot – which starts life as a flat sheet – to begin erecting itself. Once complete, a tiny magnet inside the device combined with a set of electromagnetic coils strategically placed under its operating surface help the robot walk, swim and complete basic tasks like pushing or carrying objects to or from a specific location.

    drone found self-destructing origami

    When done, a quick dunk in a vat of acetone will dissolve it entirely, leaving just the magnet behind. I’m not entirely sure what sort of tasks the device would be best suited for but it’s pretty incredible nevertheless.

    Found is a TechSpot feature where we share clever, funny or otherwise interesting stuff from around the web.

    All media via IEEE Spectrum

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  2. Equip it with a wireless transmitter for sending videos and it could possible be used for covert ops
    wastedkill likes this.
  3. lipe123

    lipe123 TS Evangelist Posts: 718   +236

    But its just a magnet being moved by other magnets?

    The self folding part looks interesting though
  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,713   +3,688

    That would be no different than most other devices. You would be hard up finding a device that doesn't work with magnetism at some point.
  5. So they are just moving a magnet around under the table to guide it? What's the big deal then?
  6. ??? Where do you get that?
  7. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,660   +1,948

    A trained cockroach, what do you know, another Japanese invention inspired by home-grown wickedness:

  8. Bibman

    Bibman TS Rookie

    MIT is NOT in Japan!
  9. MannerMauler

    MannerMauler TS Addict Posts: 182   +44

    Now this is cool!
  10. They could possibly build a huge amount of these little robots(provided that they don't cost a hole lot; they don't look like they do) and have them attach themselves together to form a bigger mas and then all be assigned to do the same task at the same exact time.
  11. Badvok

    Badvok TS Addict Posts: 173   +64

    Sorry, but no, the 'little robot' is controlled by a set of electromagnets surrounding it and it would be impossible to use this system of control for more than a single robot.

    It is actually hard to see how this actually can be called a robot given that all power and control is external and the moving part is constrained to a very limited area. However, the same applies to industrial robots so I guess the term is kind of appropriate even if misleading.

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