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Robot origami

3 minutes

Could these printable, self-assembling origami robots transform medicine?

At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), researchers make origami robots, just a centimetre long and a third of a gram in weight, that could offer a glimpse into what the future of robotics holds: small, versatile and environmentally friendly devices. After being printed, each one of these origami robots self-assembles, navigates around obstacles on land and in water, and ultimately dissolves into liquid, making them the first robotic devices to complete ‘a full lifecycle from birth to death’. The robots’ inventors hope they could someday be used as a controllable drug capsule or to help execute surgeries.

Producer: Melanie Gonick

Website: MIT Media Lab

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Essay/
Automation & Robotics
Robot says: Whatever

What stands in the way of all-powerful AI isn’t a lack of smarts: it’s that computers can’t have needs, cravings or desires

Margaret Boden

Essay/
Future of Technology
The blitzscaling illusion

All the great inventions took painstaking, risky, indirect routes to fruition. Has Silicon Valley really escaped history?

Edward Tenner