Tiny, Four-Gram Origami Robot Crawls & Jumps

Researchers at EPFL have come up with a folding, reconfigurable robot patterned on origami that is capable of crawling and jumping. Named Tribot, its gait pattern is modeled after inchworms, but what makes it unique is its gait mode - it can simultaneously switch between crawling and jumping, which means it can jump over obstacles and then resume moving forward. Tribot is two centimeters tall, weighs 4 grams, and has a T-shaped structure with three legs. All movement comes from a special kind of actuator and intelligent springs, which are made from shape memory alloy (SMA). Movement is induced by thermally activating different parts of the robot. There are two ways to heat the actuators: by sending an electric current into the robot using wires, or with customized wireless micro-heaters.