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Scientists Build Self-Assembling Robot That Costs $100 [Video]

Update Date: Aug 08, 2014 12:08 PM EDT

Drawing inspiration from origami - a Japanese art of folding paper into 3-D objects - researchers have devised a way to coax flat sheets of composite materials to transform themselves into complex robots. The self-formed robot is capable enough in performing tasks such as crawling and turning.

"We demonstrated this process by building a robot that folds itself and walks away without human assistance," lead author Sam Felton, a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, explained in a statement Thursday.

"Folding allows you to avoid the 'nuts and bolts' assembly approaches typically used for robots or other complex electromechanical devices and it allows you to integrate components like electronics, sensors, and actuators while flat," added senior author Rob Wood, the Charles River Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences Core Faculty Member at Harvard University's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

The composite took to fold itself into a dynamic and functional machine in just less than four minutes.

"Getting a robot to assemble itself autonomously and actually perform a function has been a milestone we've been chasing for many years," said Wood, however it isn't the only new technological breakthrough based on the principals of origami, added RedOrbit.

The project has been detailed in the journal Science.

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