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A group of researchers from Harvard and MIT have pushed us closer to a world of programmable matter. Their approach is a self-folding surface that can take on almost any shape. The above video from ScienceMag shows the surface turning into a small sailboat and paper plane. [via slashdot]

Based on the ancient art of origami, the sheets are edged by foil actuators–thin, solid-state motors–that contract or expand when they receive an electric current from flexible electronic circuits embedded in the sheets. After they achieve their preprogrammed shape, the sheets are held in place by tiny magnets on the edges of the fold joints.

Adam Flaherty

I make cool stuff and write about other people making cool stuff on makezine.com. If you have something you think I should see, send me a tip.


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Comments

  1. TotalMonkey says:

    I’m betting that there is more to this than meets the eye.

  2. origami says:

    It is common to fold using a flat surface but some folders like doing it
    in the air with no tools especially when displaying the folding. Many
    folders believe no tool should be used when folding. However a couple of
    tools can help especially with the more complex models. For instance a bone folder allows sharp creases to be made in the paper easily, paper clips can act as extra pairs of fingers, and tweezers can be used to make small folds. When making complex models from origami crease patterns, it can help to use a ruler and ballpoint embosser
    to score the creases. Completed models can be sprayed so they keep
    their shape better, and of course a spray is needed when wet folding.

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