Carnegie Mellon University researchers debuted this week the most gorgeous robot you’ll probably going to see anytime soon. The beautiful papercraft you see above is actually a paper robot that will make any origami fan gawk.
The Carnegie Mellon University scientists developed actuators (motors that animate robots) made of a 3D-printed material called polylactide and graphene for conductivity.
“Most robots – even those that are made of paper – require an external motor,” explained one of the researchers.
To create a paper-like robot, the researchers combine the two materials, print it in a 0.5 mm thin, paper-like layer, and then put it in an oven set at 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once removed from the oven, the paper is bent to a “default shape” for when the paper is not stimulated with electric current. Electricity essentially activates the thermoplastic material and, as that cools or gets warmer, the effects become mesmerizing.
“We are reinventing this really old material. Actuation truly turns paper into another medium, one that has both artistic and practical uses,” says Lining Yao, director of the Morphing Matter Lab and one of the researchers involved in the project.
Indeed, who could resist this gorgeous lamp that’s actually a robot?