Recent advances in 3D printing are revolutionizing manufacturing, enabling the fabrication of structures with unprecedented complexity and functionality. Yet biological systems are able to fabricate systems with far greater complexity using a process that involves assembling and folding a linear string. Here, we demonstrate a 1D printing system that uses an approach inspired by the ribosome to fabricate a variety of specialized robotic automata from a single string of source material. This proof-of-concept system involves both a novel manufacturing platform that configures the source material using folding and a computational optimization tool that allows designs to be produced from the specification of high-level goals. We show that our 1D printing system is able to produce three distinct robots from the same source material, each of which is capable of accomplishing a specialized locomotion task. Moreover, we demonstrate the ability of the printer to use recycled material to produce new designs, enabling an autonomous manufacturing ecosystem capable of repurposing previous iterations to accomplish new tasks.
Title: 1D Printing of Recyclable Robots
Authors: Daniel Cellucci, Robert MacCurdy, Hod Lipson, Sebastian Risi (2017)
In: EEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L).