Programmable Origami

Researchers at MIT have come up with this slick demo of, what they call, ¬†programmable matter. This flat sheet covered in tiny foil actuators can be programmed to fold into specific shapes. Shown in the video above is a boat and an airplane. ¬†Using the concepts set down by origami through the years, they can divide the sheet into triangles in specific arrangements to make certain shapes possible. This one is fairly simple, but judging by some of the insane origami we’ve seen around, this could get pretty cool.

[via slashdot]

15 thoughts on “Programmable Origami

  1. You can probably use the same concept but with a chemical or physical effect as the actuator instead of electricity, like using mini sponges. Then when your paper drops into the water, it changes into a boat. Equally useful to this project at 95% less wasted time.

  2. It looks like without the magnets it wouldn’t hold the shape, and it doesn’t go back being flat again unless someone physically flatten it. Kinda useless in its current form.

  3. @Concino

    Everything looks useless in it’s first iteration. You have to look at it’s potential, not it’s current state.

  4. hmm concino maybe right, but they could use electromagnets and reverse the polarity

    cooler than a motorcycle/sidecar

  5. Indeed, just look at the first transistor. An ugly device, who could have imagined all the potential uses for it.

    But, is it just my browser or is that video in Black and White?

  6. So, if they took out the mini magnets and shrank everything a bit more (I’m thinking future versions of this, not the immediate next version), its possibilities could be more flexible (pun intended). For example, a small blob of the actuators could theoretically be created, and the object could take on many forms instead of being restricted to specific fold lines, right?

    – Jordan

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