MIT’s new self-folding origami like robot, even if it’s just a third of a gram, can move along the surface of an arm, swim through a small swimming pool, or even push tiny blocks towards pink targets.
However, its size is deceptive when it comes to its uses. This marvel of technology gets better every time it gets smaller.
If everything goes well for researchers, it could eventually become small enough to fold into the human body, perform medical tasks, and then dissolve itself when finished — all by itself.
If researchers can jump over all the hurdles, they hope that they can shrink the robot to sizes that can fold within the human body, allowing it to perform a multitude of functions, most likely medical ones, by itself.
Earlier this week, MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory revealed their invention at the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) International Conference on Robotics and Automation at Seattle. The robot was conceived in 2012 and has been in development ever since.
The robot starts as a piece of PVC with some laser-cut polystyrene and some magnets. After being exposed to an external magnetic field, the bot is able to walk, swim, or even dig by just vibrating.
Eventually, scientists hope they can make the device degrade so that the residue doesn’t harm the body they work in. It can do all this and more without any wire, or even batteries.