Self-assembling foldable inchworm robots

Here's a quick and fascinating look at "Robot Self-Assembly by Folding: A Printed Inchworm Robot," presented at the 2013 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. The authors demonstrated a foldable inchworm robot that actually folds itself into shape. The goal is to have all the components placed on the robot's shrinky-dink surface using a robotic pick-and-place machine, so that the inchworm robots can be produced, assembled, and set a-inching on their way without human intervention.

The tricky part of the process is the folding of the robot itself: installing the battery and motor is trivial enough for a human to do, which means that a relatively simple pick and place robot should have no problems doing the same thing. This means that these robots have the potential to scale massively: they can be printed out of cheap materials, they fold themselves together, and another robot can plonk some hardware on them and they’re good to go.

This Crawling Inchworm Robot Can Be Printed Out and Folds Itself [Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum]

(via Beyond the Beyond)

Discuss

7 Responses to “Self-assembling foldable inchworm robots”

  1. Ian Wood says:

    NOW! FEEL THE WRATH OF MY SELF-ASSEMBLING…INCHWORMROBOTS!

    Yes, and what do they do?

    THEY…THEY INCH! AND SELF-ASSEMBLE!

    Well. We’ll just surrender right now, then.

    THERE ARE QUITE ALOT OF THEM. DID I MENTION THE SELF-ASSEMBLING?

    You did. We have push brooms.

    THEY ARE ALSO FOLDABLE.

  2. Mary McCurnin says:

    I quit. I give up. It is just too much for me to ingest, assimilate, understand or accept. shit.

  3. Eliza C says:

     One small step for man, one giant leap for Iron-Man.

  4. David Kopelman says:

    As long as they don’t leave slime trails I’m ok with that. But I draw a line if they ever get frikkin’ laser beams. 

  5. howaboutthisdangit says:

    We’re safe as long as they depend on us to make the batteries and motors.

    Oh, wait.  Those are made by machines, too.

    We’re screwed.

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