Students at MIT have developed what they call “Interactive Robogami,” a project which allows users to 3D print motorized origami creations which can move, walk, or roll. The design consists of an easy-to-use user interface which allows participants to design a structure with features like legs and wheels, while the program calculates speed, direction, and timing of moving parts internally. Completed designs were then sent to the 3D printer for fabrication. Designs were printed as a flat bunch of pieces which are then assembled or “folded” into the desired shape to produce a functional object.
This project is very interesting to me because it combines many different technologies into a single experience. The Robogami consists of complex software, friendly user interface, digital fabrication, origami, and moving parts; this requires a large amount of thinking and collaboration. In addition, I am very interested in how this technology could be scaled up over time, possibly to the transportation or housing level in the far future. This project gives amazing design power to consumers which has never been available before – perhaps in the future users will be able to custom-design their own headphones, cars, or even homes, and have built-in interactive features automatically integrated into the design.