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