In a bid to augment the robots’ abilities, researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have come up with a new tool: origami exoskeletons.
In a paper published recently, researchers describe four exoskeletons, each made out of a plastic sheet that folds into a predefined shape when heated for a few seconds. There’s a boat-shaped exoskeleton and a glider: one for “walking,” and another that folds up into a crude wheel for faster movement. Each exoskeleton can be donned in turn by a tiny lead bot called Primer. This isn’t a robot as we usually think of them, but a small magnetic cube that can be controlled remotely using magnetic fields.
“If we want robots to help us do things, it’s not very efficient to have a different one for each task,” said CSAIL’s Daniela Rus, the project’s lead, in a press release. “With this metamorphosis-inspired approach, we can extend the capabilities of a single robot by giving it different ‘accessories’ to use in different situations.” In the future, the researchers imagine this sort of approach to robot design could help up make multifunctional bots that can perform complex tasks remotely. They could be used for deep-sea mining operations, for example, or for building colonies in space. These are locations where you don’t want to waste resources shipping out lots of different bots for different jobs, so it’s more efficient to send one with a set of origami tools. As Rus says: “Why update a whole robot when you can just update one part of it?”
Watch the video below for getting a better idea of the origami-inspired robots.
(Source : CSAIL, TheVerge, ScienceDaily )