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.

Engulf it! (a new magnetic holder concept)

Take something really-really boring and banal, say … a putty! Then sprinkle some (OK, a lot!) microscopic ferromagnetic particles on it and knead it really-really well for a very long time 🙂 Add some Hollywood magic, too, such as a slow motion camera footage, and you have a perfect way to entertain a bunch of geeks! I guarantee you, there were great many more people that were entertained by the ferromagnetic putty videos than people who actually bough it (yup, Puttyworld sells it for $15 a pack) and used it. It has been a couple of hours since I first saw the video and I still cannot come up with any useful application for it (except perhaps to hold something magnetic and of course, shoot some creepy Sci-Fi videos with it). But then, again, it’s been 8 and 7 years and I still have no useful application for my dogs even though I love the little rascals. A fascinating example of an awesome material in search of an application!


On a second thought: I wonder if it can be formed (pushed or pulled) by an oscillating magnetic field so the particles have to time to rearrange themselves to always attract, no matter what magnetic pole, to the source. Hmm….

Continue reading