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.
Poplocks are a very clever system for making movable papercraft fastenings with die-cutting and folding. The Paper Pose-Ables site has a bunch of downloadable papercraft toys you can print out and make, as well as pre-cut/scored kits you can buy, for making fabulous poseable robots and other cool figures.
The Pose-Ables people came out to one of my signings last month and gave me a couple of GUPP-E robots, which I've put together this week, with help from my five-year-old daughter Poesy. The robots were fun to put together -- just intricate enough to be challenging without being frustrating -- and the Poplocks system really makes for a great, semi-rigid joint for the toys.
The Poplocks themselves are CC licensed for use in your own models.
The Poplock pushes the two pieces of paper tightly together, creating lots of friction! It can also stay put, and won't pop out on it's own, unless a good amount of force is used to bend it out of place.
Combine the Poplock Wedge with the special Locking Flaps hole, and you will create a nigh-invincible connection. Seriously, you won't be able to get the connection apart with torsion or pulling forces unless you rip or crumple the parts. Even then, the Poplock will probably stay put... holding two mangled pieces of paper together!
As I get ready to (finally) return home from a month-long tour, I'm taking stock of the gifts I scored for my daughter Poesy on the road. First up is this Toysmith Blooming Flower an incredibly clever little papercraft toy. It consists of a complex of folded and cut tissue paper, sandwiched between two plastic rods. When you open out these rods, the tissue paper fans out to make a lovely paper flower.
But that's just for starters. If you give the flower a shake, it "blooms," as other paper fans, in contrasting colors, emerge from the insides of the first-order flower. Each shake or sharp tap creates a new structure, each more lovely than the last. It's difficult to explain, but itsmecharlee posted the above YouTube video in which a charming little girl masterfully demonstrates.
This is the second time I've brought these home (I discovered them thanks to a tip from Bettina Neuefeind, who sent me to the amazing Black Ink, near Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass). The first one lasted for more than a month, which is pretty good for a mess of fragile, glued-together tissue paper in the hands of a then-four-year-old. They're only $4, and the kid is five now, so this time I'm bringing home two. They're really lovely and cool.
Marshall sez, "This paper scene is a collaboration between illustrator Derek Yaniger and Marshall Alexander. The result is this poster-sized template that you can either hang on the wall or cut to pieces to create the paper scene. We hope to make this template available for purchase soon."
Marc Hagan-Guirey creates magnificent paper craft models of famed horror film houses. He makes his "horrorgami" structures from a single sheet of cut-and-folded paper. Above is the Overlook Hotel from The Shining. Others in the ongoing series include the Amityville Horror house, the Bates Motel, and the Addams Family abode. Hagan-Guirey's Horrorgami is on exhibit at London's Gallery One And A Half through November 14. He discusses the project in the video below.
The incomparably great Vihart continues her Doodling in Math Class video series with a history and demonstration of the miraculous Hexaflexagon, a simple-to-fold paper hexagon that contains several iterations of itself, which can be found by turning it inside-out over and over again. Sure to delight, inform, entertain, and mystify!
Historical Note: This video is based on a true story. Arthur H. Stone really did invent the hexaflexagon after playing with the paper strips he'd cut off his too-wide British paper, and really did start a flexagon committee (which we'll hear more about in the next video). The details and dialogue, however, are my own invention.
Martin "starwarigami" Hunt made this lovely TIE Fighter origami piece for London's MCM Comic Expo and contributed it to the Boing Boing Flickr Pool, along with several other marvellous creations. The photo notes state: "Folded from a 2 by 1 rectangle cut from a sheet of 150gsm A1 craft paper.
For a B.O.S. display at the 2012 MCM Expo in London."
Here's a series of "Disaster Dioramas" (dioramae?) -- papercraft models of historic disasters to download and print. Included in the set are the Titanic, the Hindenberg, Sir Shackleton's Endurance, Apollo 13, the Boston Molasses Disaster and the Chicago Fire, pictured here.
Franklin Heath, a UK security consultancy, offers plans for printing and assembling your own papercraft Enigma machine, approximately like the ones that Alan Turing and the Polish cryptographers and co broke at Bletchley Park. Now all we need are papercraft bombes, and a papercraft Collosus, and several thousand papercraft young women to work on code intercepts through the night...
The instructions note: "Using low-tack 'removable' sticky tape can make it easier to swap round and reuse the rotors if you want to do that, but it's not essential."
If you seriously want to explore paper computing, a good followup project is the legendary CARDiac computer.
In this spectacularly original picture book, the story mirrors an origami activity: As a pig-tailed pirate girl travels through mountains, valleys, a cave and finally by sea to reach the treasure her grandfather has hidden for her, imaginative illustrations show different incarnations of a single folded sheet of paper within the scenes. Best of all, clear instructions at the end will let readers recreate the story with just a few folds and tears, transforming a piece of notebook paper into a mountain, hat, cave, boat and really cool pirate shirt.
The Leungs are holding a signing and launch tomorrow, Saturday the 14th, at Toronto's Little Island Comics (742 Bathurst St.) 12-3pm.