Self-Folding Shape Memory Laminates for Automated Fabrication

Michael T. Tolley, Samuel M. Felton, Shuhei Miyashita, Lily Xu, ByungHyun Shin, Monica Zhou, Daniela Rus, Robert J. Wood

IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems

 Abstract—Nature regularly uses self-folding as an efficient approach to automated fabrication. In engineered systems, however, the use of self-folding has been primarily restricted to the assembly of small structures using exotic materials and/or complex infrastructures. In this paper we present three approaches to the self-folding of structures using low-cost, rapid-prototyped shape memory laminates. These structures require minimal deployment infrastructure, and are activated by light, heat, or electricity. We compare the fabrication of a fundamental structure (a cube) using each approach, and test ways to control fold angles in each case. Finally, for each self-folding approach we present a unique structure that the approach is particularly suited to fold, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.