Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Carnegie Mellon Student Develops Origami Folding Robot

Date:
May 14, 2004
Source:
Carnegie Mellon University
Summary:
Devin Balkcom, a student in Carnegie Mellon University's doctoral program in robotics, was looking for a challenge when he decided to develop the world's first origami-folding robot as the subject of his thesis. Origami, the ancient Japanese art of paper sculpture, looks deceptively simple at first glance.

A robot folding origami.
Credit: Photo courtesy Carnegie Mellon University

PITTSBURGH -- Devin Balkcom, a student in Carnegie Mellon University's doctoral program in robotics, was looking for a challenge when he decided to develop the world's first origami-folding robot as the subject of his thesis. Origami, the ancient Japanese art of paper sculpture, looks deceptively simple at first glance.

"It's something we humans can do well, but we don't understand the mechanical details," said Balkcom. "Because a five-year-old child can learn to fold origami, we assume that it is a simple process, but the movements it requires are quite complex."

Balkcom's thesis project uses kinematics, the study of mechanisms, to determine how folding motions are made and how paper can be treated as both a flexible and a rigid material. Because robots are so often used for industrial and manufacturing purposes, they are engineered to work with rigid materials, Balkcom said. Paper presents a significant problem because it is flexible.

"There are a lot of complicated things going on when a human being is folding a piece of paper," he said. "How do we precisely place a crease? We line up the corners and roll it out in the center of the paper. We treat the paper as flexible material, but machines can't do this."

Balkcom built his origami robot with an industrial mechanical arm produced by Adept Technology, Inc., of Livermore, Calif. The robot uses a tiny suction cup attached to the arm to pick the paper up, rotate it and place it over a narrow gutter in the worktable. Then a ruler descends and presses the paper into the gutter to create a crease. This method is much less precise than a human and brings to light some interesting insights and questions about mechanisms.

"Human beings are mechanisms," Balkcom said. "We're very complicated mechanisms and we don't even understand ourselves. People do really neat things with their hands. Can we make robots do these things? If not, can we at least use robots to understand how humans do them?"

Balkcom's advisor, Matthew T. Mason, professor of computer science and robotics, points out the challenges presented by flexible materials and coordinated motions of two different parts at once. "Origami defies description by our current mathematical tools," he said.

Balkcom admits that his thesis is just the beginning.

"Origami is a good problem to study because there is a 'ladder' of origami skills and designs, from the very simple to the complex," he said. Although his thesis will only reach the first few rungs, it will create a basis for further exploration that may lead to more capable robots in general.

"Robots are a tool for understanding the physics and mathematics of the world around us," he said. "Once you build a robot that can duplicate human tasks, you can learn more about human skills that we often take for granted."

###

Videos of the origami robot folding a paper airplane and a hat are available at http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~devin.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Carnegie Mellon University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Carnegie Mellon University. "Carnegie Mellon Student Develops Origami Folding Robot." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 May 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040514024853.htm>.
Carnegie Mellon University. (2004, May 14). Carnegie Mellon Student Develops Origami Folding Robot. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040514024853.htm
Carnegie Mellon University. "Carnegie Mellon Student Develops Origami Folding Robot." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040514024853.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nintendo Changed Gaming World, but Its Future Uncertain: Upstone

Nintendo Changed Gaming World, but Its Future Uncertain: Upstone

AFP (Apr. 19, 2014) The Nintendo Game Boy celebrates its 25th anniversary Monday and game expert Stephen Upstone says the console can be credited with creating a trend towards handheld gaming devices. Duration: 01:21 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nearly Two Weeks On, The Internet Copes With Heartbleed

Nearly Two Weeks On, The Internet Copes With Heartbleed

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) The Internet is taking important steps in patching the vulnerabilities Heartbleed highlighted, but those preventive measures carry their own costs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Facebook To Share Nearby Friends Data With Advertisers

Facebook To Share Nearby Friends Data With Advertisers

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) A Facebook spokesperson has confirmed the company will use GPS data from the new Nearby Friends feature for advertising sometime in the future. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins