Template-Based Design and Fabrication of Printable Hexapod Robots

Robotic systems traditionally require highly specialized fabrication and assembly processes. Printable Robots systematizes the development of 3-D robots using inexpensive, fast, and convenient 2-D fabrication processes and origami-inspired folding. Using a library of design templates consisting of physical modules and their corresponding theoretical models, the goal is to tailor these designs based on a specific set of task criteria by tuning the free parameters. The resulting customized design provides the blueprints for fabrication: a circuit design for the planar fabrication of the electronics, and a folding pattern to create the 3-D machine. In this project we demonstrated this template-based approach in the fabrication of a printed ambulating hexapod. Beginning with the same basic template, we varied template parameters to fabricate three printed robots tailored to different applications, and tested them experimentally.