The Milli-Motein: A self-folding chain of programmable matter with a one centimeter module pitch
Author(s)Knaian, Ara N.; Lobovsky, Maxim B.; Oines, Asa J.; Schmidt-Neilsen, Peter; Cheung, Kenneth Chun-Wai; Gershenfeld, Neil A; ... Show more Show less
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The Milli-Motein (Millimeter-Scale Motorized Protein) is ca chain of programmable matter with a 1 cm pitch. It can fold itself into digitized approximations of arbitrary three-dimensional shapes. The small size of the Milli-Motein segments is enabled by the use of our new electropermanent wobble stepper motors, described in this paper, and by a highly integrated electronic and mechanical design. The chain is an interlocked series of connected motor rotors and stators, wrapped with a continuous flex circuit to provide communications, control, and power transmission capabilities. The Milli-Motein uses off-the-shelf electronic components and fasteners, and custom parts fabricated by conventional and electric discharge machining, assembled with screws, glue, and solder using tweezers under a microscope. We perform shape reconfiguration experiments using a four-segment Milli-Motein. It can switch from a straight line to a prescribed shape in 5 seconds, consuming 2.6 W power during reconfiguration. It can hold its shape indefinitely without power. During reconfiguration, a segment can lift the weight of one but not two segments as a horizontal cantilever.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Center for Bits and Atoms; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Media Laboratory; Program in Media Arts and Sciences (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2012 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Knaian, Ara N., Kenneth C. Cheung, Maxim B. Lobovsky, Asa J. Oines, Peter Schmidt-Neilsen, and Neil A. Gershenfeld. “The Milli-Motein: A Self-Folding Chain of Programmable Matter with a One Centimeter Module Pitch.” 2012 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (October 2012).
Author's final manuscript