Credit: Seth Kroll, Wyss Institute
It’s not quite Optimus Prime, but researchers at Harvard and MIT have created “origami robots” that can transform from flat sheets into tiny, crab-like crawling machines.
Read other “Weird Science” stories:
- Can a Virtual Therapist Keep the Peace on the Way to Mars? NASA Wants to Find Out.
- Snake Robot Will Slither Into Your Nightmares
- Finally, Science Tackles Skunky Beer!
- Harry Potter Is Fiction, but Invisibility Cloak(ing Device)s Are Real
- Finally, a Robot You Can Run Over in Your Car
- Scientists Develop Squid-Inspired Camouflage
- How Did the Hulk Become the Hulk? Science Finally Speaks.
- More Than Meets the Eye: Scientists Create Real-Life Transformers!
- Researchers Reconstruct Speech Recorded in the Vibrations of a Potato Chip Bag. No, Seriously.
- Can a Robot Hitchhike Across Canada Using Only Its Charm and Good Looks?
The devices are made from five layers of laser-cut materials, including paper, copper and shape-memory polymers that fold in just the right way when heated. They shape-shift in about four minutes and skitter away at more than 2 inches per second.
From there it doesn’t seem too far a leap to robots that can transform into semi-trailers and out-act Megan Fox.
In the nearer term, the technology may be put to use in search-and-rescue robots that slip into tight spaces, self-erecting shelters in disaster zones or — in a development that couldn’t possibly happen soon enough for humanity — Ikea-style furniture that assembles itself.
The study was published in the journal Science.
Join the conversation: