Researchers at Harvard University have discovered a way to use paper to manufacture robots that can produce semi-complicated actions via air channels called pneuNets. The group, which is lead by Professor George Whitesides, utilizes silicones to create tiny air channels (or Balloons) that can lift weight up to 120 times their own.
Ramses Martinez, a Postdoctoral researcher at Harvard comments on how the robots work:
“When the balloon part of the structure expands it doesn’t become round (as does a child’s balloon), but adopts more complex shapes in response to the constraints imposed by the paper sheets.”
The methods we developed are astonishingly simple for the complex motions that they generate. Once we understood the materials to use, the best procedures for fabrication and the kinds of designs that worked best.”
The paper robots could be useful for performing delicate tasks that require a soft touch and precise movements. No telling where this technology will go, but it sounds like something we should keep our eyes on.