A team of engineers has created robots made out of paper and silicon rubber that are powered by puffs of air and can perform amazing feats.
Robots have come a long way and can now perform many functions that were once thought to be impossible. So now, the latest advancements have been not in what the robots can do, but what they’re made of. A group of researchers funded by Darpa has invented robots made of paper and silicon rubber, and powered by nothing more than puffs of air.
Although these robots technically contain no metal nor electronic components, the research team that invented them believes they’ll be able to do accomplish things that robots made of hard materials cannot. While they may not be as technologically advanced, their flexible structure could potentially allow them to navigate through tough environments, such as a tube or corridor with lots of turns.
The team that developed the paper robots initially experimented with several different designs before landing on the current prototype, and are currently working on ways to add new (but still flexible) materials to make the robots stronger.
After being molded, the robots are hooked up to an air source directed at a certain point and angle such that can perform feats like lifting a 2-pound weight. The robot’s developers say that getting the robots to perform certain actions is much like origami; the robots must be folded and glued in just the right places.
The robots’ researchers are hoping to eventually add electronics to their designs, in order to eventually create microscopic robots that could be useful to the military or have other practical applications.