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Self-Assembling Robot Technology

For years science-fiction has filled our minds with dreams of robots that will be able to make our lives easier, and now these dreams are becoming reality. Researchers at MIT have developed a one centimetre squared origami robot, made almost entirely out of liquid-soluble plastics. When heated, the robot folds itself into shape, and can then complete a variety of tasks, before disposing of itself. 

The robot is powered by a small magnet, and controlled remotely by programming an electromagnetic field. This allows the robot to follow a predetermined path, making it ideal for fine transport in difficult to reach or narrow spaces. In addition to this, the robot can carry up to twice its weight, and cross over water or dig through small obstructions. Future plans for the robot include experimenting with electrically conductive materials, and ways for the robot to act independently and solve problems.

While it will definitely be some time before we see this sort of technology popping up in Melbourne, the team behind this technology have already started working towards finding practical uses for their little robot. In the short-term, they plan to move the robot into medical fields, suggesting it be used as a remote controlled tablet, that can target particular areas to dispense drugs before dissolving and removing itself from the body.

Generally, the robot is ideal for close inspection, in any fields. While it could be used to view the inside of a human body, it could also be sent into an engine to inspect damage internally, or down a drain to locate lost items of points of damage. The small size and flexibility of this robot create exciting possibilities, even for casual use. As 3D printing becomes increasingly popular, imagine if the plastic of the robot could soon be printed, and used in the home!

If you would like to discuss your product or ideas with people who are excited and interested in this kind of innovative technology, get in contact with our Melbourne Product Design team on (03) 9413 9000,  or email Mark at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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 See the robot live in action below.

Self folding Robot - Industrial Design Melbourne
The Robot folds itself up from a flat sheet 
Self folding Robot - Industrial Design Melbourne

The folding body of the robot is dissolvable

  Origami Robot - Product Design Melbourne

The Robot is able to swim and move twice it's weight