Tiny Robots That Bring Targeted Drug Delivery And Treatment A Little Bit Closer

Within the world of medical science fiction they are found everywhere: tiny robots that can zip through blood vessels and intestines, where they can deliver medication, diagnose medical conditions and even directly provide treatment. Although much of this is still firmly in the realm of science-fiction, researchers at Stanford published work last year on an origami-based type of robots, controlled using an external magnetic field. Details can be found in the Nature Communications paper. Continue reading “Tiny Robots That Bring Targeted Drug Delivery And Treatment A Little Bit Closer”

Ply Your Craft With Tubular Origami

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have just published a paper on creating modular tubular origami machines which they call “Kinegami”, a portmanteau of “kinematic” and “origami”.

Diagrams of "kinegami" folds for various modules and joint mechanism

The idea behind their work is to create individual modules and joint mechanisms that can then be chained together to create a larger “serial” robot. Some example joints they propose are “prismatic” joints, allowing for linear motion, and “revolute” joints, which allow for rotational motion. One of the more exciting aspects of this process is that the joint mechanisms are origami-like structures which can be constructed from a single piece of flat material which is folded and glued together to make the module. Of particular interest is that the crease pattern for the origami-like folds can be laser cut into a material, cardboard or thin acrylic for example, which can be used as a guide to create the resulting structure. The crease patterns for the supporting structures, such as tubes or joints, can be taken from pre-formatted patterns or customized, so this method is very accessible to the hobbyist and could allow for a rich new method of rapid project prototyping.

The researchers go on to discuss how to create the composition of modules from a specification of joints and links (from a “Denavit-Hartenberg” specification) to attaching the junctures together while respecting curvature constraints (via the “Dubins path”). Their paper offers the gritty details along with the available accompanying source files. Origami hacking is a favorite subject of ours and we’ve featured articles on the use of origami in medical technology to creating inflatable actuators.

Video after the break!

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Cranes made by Origami (Orizuru). The height is 35mm.

Bringing The Art Of Origami And Kirigami To Robotics And Medical Technology

Traditionally, when it comes to high-tech self-assembling microscopic structures for use in medicine delivery, and refined, delicate grippers for robotics, there’s been a dearth of effective, economical options. While some options exist, they are rarely as effective as desired, with microscopic medicine delivery mechanisms, for example, not having the optimal porosity. Similarly, in so-called soft robotics, many compromises had to be made.

A promising technology here involves the manipulation of flat structures in a way that enables them to either auto-assemble into 3D structures, or to non-destructively transform into 3D structures with specific features such as grippers that might be useful in both micro- and macroscopic applications, including robotics.

Perhaps the most interesting part is how much of these technologies borrow from the Japanese art of origami, and the related kirigami.

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Illuminating Origami Is Just Around The Corner

Pop-up greeting cards are about to get a whole lot more interesting. Researchers at Seoul National University in Korea have created glowing 3D objects with a series of prototypes that fold thin QLED (Quantum Dot LED) sheets like origami. They used a CO2 laser to etch “fold lines” in the QLED so the sheets could be formed into 3D shapes. The bends are actually rounded, but at 5μm they appear to be sharp corners and the panels continue to illuminate across the fold lines for at least 500 folds. Some glow in solid colors, while others use smaller addressable areas to create animated matrix displays of patterns and letterforms. See the short video after the break, read the Physics World article or to see all the prototypes and dig into details of the full research paper in Nature (freed from the paywall by SharedIt).

We’re not sure how soon this technique can be duplicated in our home labs, but we can’t wait to fold up our own 3D lights and matrices. Until then, check out some glowing origami you can make right now from [Charlyn Gonda] at Remoticon 2020 and earlier that year and this amazing origami lamp.

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Remoticon Video: Making Glowy Origami With Charlyn Gonda

Hacking is about pushing the envelope to discover new and clever ways to use things in ways their original designers never envisioned. [Charlyn Gonda]’s Hackaday Remoticon workshop “Making Glowly Origami” was exactly that; a combination of the art of origami with the one of LEDs. Check out the full course embedded below, and read on for a summary of what you’ll find. Continue reading “Remoticon Video: Making Glowy Origami With Charlyn Gonda”

Circuit Board Origami Puts You Face-to-Face With Low-Poly Electronics

Paper craft has been around almost as long as paper itself. It’s fun to mimic paper craft and origami with low-poly 3D prints, and [Stephen Hawes] wondered whether it could be done with copper-clad PCBs. Two years after the question arose, we have the answer in the form of a fantastical mask with light-up eyes. Check it out in the video below.

[Stephen] started with a model (Update: [kongorilla’s] 2012 low poly mask model from back in 2012 was the starting point for this hack) from the papercraft program Pepakura Designer, then milled out dozens of boards. Only a few of them support circuitry, but it was still quite the time-consuming process. The ATMega32u4 on the forehead along with the fold-traversing circuitry serve to light up the WS2812B eyes. Power runs up the copper tube, which doubles as a handy mounting rod to connect to the 3D-printed base.

To be fair, eighteen months out of the two years this project took was spent hand-sanding a chamfer on every edge of every panel so that they could be glued together. Soldering the edges together didn’t work as well as you might think, so [Stephen] used Superglue mixed with baking soda to give it body and make it dry faster. The result is a low-poly human face of shiny copper with TQFP-44 chip package a the all-seeing eye in the middle of its forehead like something from Tron come to life.

Just a reminder — we have a circuit sculpture contest running now until Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 12:00 pm PST. We’d love to see what you can do, whether it’s in brass rod, copper clad, or a combination of the two. Take a look at the submissions we’ve received so far, and then show us what you’ve got.

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Animal Crossing IRL With Nova Lights To Mark The Passage Of Time

We feature a lot of clocks here at Hackaday, but it’s not often that one comes along and makes us stop in our tracks and reconsider the fundamental question: just what is a clock? [Charlyn] has managed it though, with her Nova Light clock, which doesn’t so much measure the passing of time, but mark it.

The clock itself is a set of origami pieces in the shape of the Nova lights and a star fragment from the popular Animal Crossing New Horizons game, and each has a multicolour LED underneath. The star fragment pulses, while the two Nova lights imperceptibly slowly change colour, one over the course of the day and the other over the course of the week. Except for Fridays, when in celebration of the end of the work week they pulsate with different colours. Under the hood is an Adafruit Feather with a real-time clock module, and since all the code is there for your enjoyment you can have a go at making your own. Below the break is a video showing the clock in action.

[Charlyn] is no stranger to these pages, in fact we’ve featured her exquisite use of origami before. It’s probably her rideable rocking horse that’s the most memorable among her projects though.

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