Robotic systems hold great promise to assist with household, educational, and research tasks, but the difficulties of designing and building such robots often are an inhibitive barrier preventing their development. The goal of this project is to create a framework in which simple robots can be easily designed and then rapidly fabricated and tested. The Python package being developed in this work allows for the scripted generation of mechanical elements, using the principles of hierarchical structure and modular reuse to simplify the design process. These structures are then manufactured using an origami-inspired method in which laser cut sheets of plastic film are folded to achieve desired geometries.
As an initial design goal, a lightweight, low cost, rapidly built quadrotor was designed and fabricated using these processes. Flight tests compared the resulting robot against similar micro air vehicles (MAVs) generated using other processes. At the expense of flight efficiency due to the lower tolerance and precision from the fabrication process, this robot took significantly less time to build, and yielded a lighter, lower power MAV.