Watch this tiny origami robot fold itself, move around, then dissolve

Researchers at MIT recently demonstrated a tiny robot that folds itself, walks, swims, and then dissolves in acetone, the IEEE Spectrum reported.

The robot weighs 0.31g, is made of a magnet and PVC held between laser-cut layers of polystyrene or paper, and each side is about 1.7cm long.

When placed on a heating element, the PVC contracts and creates folds where the structural layers have been cut. It is folded and ready to go in under a minute.

Though it can move around at speeds of 3-4cm/s, the robot’s motor isn’t built into the self-folding package.

Instead, it folds itself around a neodymium permanent magnet, and then four electromagnetic coils underneath the surface of the robot steer it.

The video below shows the robot in action. A more detailed explanation of its workings is available on the IEEE Spectrum website.

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Watch this tiny origami robot fold itself, move around, then dissolve