Flexibility and Simplicity
Imagine making almost anything from a single piece of sheet?
Researchers at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology made a breakthrough for making matters with a single piece of sheet. The leading scientist is Robert Wood, associate professor at electrical engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
They used a thin composite of rigid tiles and elastomer joints. It also contains 25 soft actuators to drive the folding process. By properly turning on/off the actuators, the thin tiles can be folded in theory to almost any shapes, from a cup, to a table, to a robot (what they call soft robotics).
Currently, they have demonstrated folding a boat and plane.
Courtesy of Harvard University and Dr. Robert Wood