Self-Folding, Printable Inchworm Robot

Interesting concept of self-folding device. I would not go as far as to call it a “robot” per se because its movement function which is enabled by the motor and the battery, all added after the fact manually, are secondary (IMHO) to the ability to fold, which is what’s cool about it. From the soundtrack to the video, the shape memory polymers are bent into final position by temperature created with appox 2A current though what looks like a graphite infused part of the polymer sheet.
I don’t know how useful the technique would be specifically in robotics but this may actually be useful for electronic devices that require an enclosure. The shape memory polymer could be made to become both the PCB for the electronics as well as the enclosure, in which the components would be mounted on the inside. A pick-n-place robot can populate the SMD parts on the inner side of the device, then, while the device is in the reflow oven, the sides will fold around to form an enclosure. Interesting… Gotta read up more on the shape memory polymers, much depends on the temperatures required for the shape recall.


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