Origami Robot: A Self-Folding Paper Robot With an Electrothermal Actuator Created by Printing

Hiroki Shigemune, Shingo Maeda, Yusuke Hara, Naoki Hosoya, Shuji Hashimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


A piece of paper has many useful characteristics; it is affordable, lightweight, thin, strong, and highly absorbent. These features allow inexpensive and flexible devices to be fabricated easily and rapidly. We have proposed a new field, "paper mechatronics," which merges printed robotics and paper electronics, and to realize electronic and mechanical systems by printing. Herein, we develop a method to print an actuator and a structure on a sheet of paper. A trilayer electrothermal actuator is printed to activate a printed robot. The paper self-folds along the printed pattern to form the three-dimensional (3-D) structure of the robot body. We also investigate important factors necessary to develop a printed robot. Experiments, including finite element analysis (FEA), confirm our bimetal modeling assumption for the printed actuator and improve the locomotive ability. The key factors in self-folding are paper thickness and humidity. Our findings can improve the reliability of printed robot designs. A self-folding A7-sized paper robot demonstrates locomotion at 10 mm per step.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7519030
Pages (from-to)2746-2754
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Dec


  • Flexible manufacturing systems
  • paper electronics
  • paper mechatronics
  • printed robotics
  • selffolding robots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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