Robotic Bees That Fold Like Origami May Change The Face Of Manufacturing

Robotic Bees That Fold Like Origami May Change The Face Of Manufacturing

Harvard University engineers have developed a technique for quickly fabricating and assembling tiny and complex devices.

Emma Hutchings
  • 22 february 2012

Harvard University engineers have created robotic bees that fold in using a technique inspired by pop-up books and origami. The Harvard Monolithic Bee (Mobee) is designed to be mass-produced by the sheet and can be assembled quickly and easily.

This new layering and folding process could have applications in a range of electromechanical devices including high-power switching and optical systems. One Mobee is approximately the size of a U.S. quarter and dozens of these microrobots could be rapidly fabricated on a single sheet.

Robotic Bees That Fold Like Origami

In prototypes, 18 layers of carbon fiber, Kapton (a plastic film), titanium, brass, ceramic, and adhesive sheets have been laminated together in a complex, laser-cut design. The structure incorporates flexible hinges that allow the three-dimensional product—just 2.4 millimeters tall—to assemble in one movement, like a pop-up book.

Find out more about the manufacturing process in the video below:

Harvard University


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