Origami + Robotics. 3D-printed TWISTER inspired by an origami design, called TWISTED TOWER by Mihoko Tachibana.
Origami brings novel inspiration and perspective to designing semi-soft robotic mechanisms. Instead of relying on materials deformations to achieve structural compliance as in many soft robots, origami – in particular “action” origami which exhibits kinematic motion – achieves coexisting properties of flexibility and rigidity.
One particular origami design of our interest is called Twisted Tower by Mihoko Tachibana (See the picture below).
Inspired by the origami twisted tower, we created a new scalable, customizable, and 3D printable mechanism, called TWISTER. The deisgn was diversified to use any regular polygon (e.g., triangle, pentagon, hexagon, etc.) as the base geomtry, carefully converted into a CAD model, and printed using a PolyJet 3D printing machine using a soft material for creases and a hard material for relatively rigid surfaces.
“This origami-bot is a lightweight take on a robot arm.” (MIT Technology Review)
This 3D printed TWISTER and its robot embodiment into a robotic arm has been featured in media, including MIT Technology Review, CNN Technology, 3D Printing Industry, Cleveland.com, and WKSU. The initial phase of this project has been supported by the ACES+ program at Case Western Reserve University and Dr. Lee’s Nord Distinguished Assistant Professorship.
Check out the story behind the creation of TWISTER from CWRU 2018 Annual Report: “Robots, Transformed.”
- K. Lee, Y. Wang, and C. Zheng, TWISTER Hand: Underactuated Robotic Gripper inspired by Origami Twisted Tower. IEEE Transaction on Robotics, 2020
- T. Liu, Y. Wang, and K. Lee. THREE-DIMENSIONAL PRINTABLE ORIGAMI TWISTED TOWER: DESIGN, FABRICATION, AND ROBOT EMBODIMENT. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 3(1):116-123, January 2018.
- D. Jeong and K. Lee. DESIGN AND ANALYSIS OF AN ORIGAMI-BASED THREE-FINGER MANIPULATOR. Robotica, September 2017.
- Y. Wang and K. Lee. ORIGAMI-INSPIRED SEMI-SOFT ROBOTIC MECHANISMS. NASA/ESA Conference on Adaptive Hardware and Systems, July 2017.
- D. Jeong and K. Lee. AN AMPHIBIOUS ROBOT WITH RECONFIGURABLE ORIGAMI WHEELS FOR LOCOMOTION IN DYNAMIC ENVIRONMENT International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition (IMECE) 2015.
- E. VanderHoff, D. Jeong, and K. Lee. ORIGAMIBOT-I: A THREAD-ACTUATED ORIGAMI ROBOT FOR MANIPULATION AND LOCOMOTION. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) 2014.
Our latest work features a three-finger robotic gripper using the 3D-printed TWISTER mechanism for its fingers.