Soft robots: elastomeric origami

Wired Science's Dave Mosher investigates elastomeric soft robots -- air-powered origami creepers that can go places that challenge their rigid metallic kin.

Getting the soft robots to perform a particular action is a feat of origami: Folded in just the right way and glued in the right spots, for example, the researchers showed how a crinkled clump of silicone-soaked paper lifted a 2-pound weight. The force of the air required to drive it was roughly twice that of a human exhalation.

The team has also cylinders that blow into spheres, tubes that act like springs and compact stacks that turn into rigid rings or pipes.

Avi Solomon notes the similarity between these eerie things and the robots in Ted Chiang's brilliant science fiction story Exhalation.

Origami Robots Run Only on Air


  1. I am opening an over/under pool for those Boingers willing to bet on how long it takes before the cyberdildonic possibilities of this innovation are explored.  Anyone interested?

  2. The glutinous shell achingly pulled itself from the primordial sea, its segments alternately straining and spasming. In a final paroxysm of malformed limbs, it gained the Other Side and laid, exhausted, upon the numbingly cold ground. With this final experience, it knew what nature had in store for it and future generations: pain. Lifetimes and lifetimes of torture and torment. It wondered if it weren’t better off just turning around and going home.

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