Muscle wire on hold

June 30, 2005 on 11:54 am | In Robo Tech | No Comments

Well, I’ve exhausted the ideas I have for muscle wire right now. It can contract up to 5% of its original length, and I’ve tried multiple ways of attaching the muscle wire to a basic fold. Increasing the leverage, and it still only yields about 40 degrees of movement. This is not satisfactory. I am shifting to a more fundamental aspect of the project, which is design of the flower bots.

Though it must be noted that this avenue of exploration is very valuable, as the idea of muscle like actuation of folds is central to the future idea of pure oribotics. I hope some technology will emerge in the not too distant future to aid this aspect of the design. But for now the muscle wire exploration is on hold.

We really need muscle paper ^_^ Paper that folds you!

One tiny step forward

June 28, 2005 on 1:58 am | In Robo Tech | No Comments

I’ve been plugging away at this idea to replace the motors used in oribotics with SMA - Shape Memory Actuators - otherwise known as BIO METAL. It’s been about 5 days work just to relearn basic electronics (all that high school education was useful), finding parts in Akihabara, and then inventing a mechanism which could actually perform the action of folding.

Well, after so many days of pure research and scribbling on paper, the first successful experiment bore fruit. A tiny folding mechanism can be activated by the touch of a button. It’s very primitive, only unfolds, and actually doesnt work well enough for production, but at least I can see a way forward. The next steps are to improve the mechanism. When I get something worthwhile showing, I’ll make a small video and post it.

The beautiful thing is that I can see it working, and if the technique can be refined, it would make oribotics truly beautiful, and one tiny step closer to the dreams of pure oribotic paper.

Rigid Origami

June 20, 2005 on 11:15 pm | In Oribotics | No Comments

Tom Hull, a US based mathematician and origami researcher, has written a number of articles about the subject of Rigid Origami. Rigid origami is essentially a crease pattern in which:

(1) Paper does not stretch.
(2) The faces of the folded paper are flat (as opposed to curved).
(3) We do not want the paper to rip or have holes.
(4) Paper does not intersect itself.


If a crease pattern meets these criteria (its a bit more complex than this), but points 1 and 2, are essential in understanding a rigid fold.

The results of which are a crease pattern which is ideal for oribotics. Oribotics requires a crease pattern which can be set into motion with a mechanism. The first oribotic flowers are not rigid folds, however the amount which the crease pattern requires the faces to curve is small enough to allow the flower to open and close. But the springiness of the flower, is a result of the tension from the paper (or plastic) curving. If this were eliminated by altering the crease pattern the tension would be removed and the folding would require less energy.

Note that the first prototype oribot was based on a square twist fold crease pattern, however the twist was symmetrical, unlike this animation shown here:

Origami May Be an Art, but Nature Got There First

June 18, 2005 on 10:51 am | In References | No Comments

See this article on the relationship between the famous Miura-ori and the blooming of a leaf…

ATOMU = astro boy

June 17, 2005 on 11:29 am | In References | No Comments

While looking in the famous book shop district of Kanda - close to Jimbocho station in Tokyo I found an 8 story building full of second hand books. On the 4th floor there was a shop specialising in Manga. The first thing I saw was a full set of Hayao Miyazake’s NAUSICA - (for only 2800 yen!) a story of post apocalyptic earth with a heroine named after the Nausica from the Odyssey of Homer. A fascinating read, far more in depth than the animated version, which covers about a quarter of the story conveyed in the books. I was unable to do anything but read for the whole day. It was quite a luxury but very necessary #^_^#.

In the same bookstore I discovered a whole section on Astro Boy (ATOMU) as he is known in Japan. I bought the first book for 200 yen. This has a high degree of significance to my stay here in Tokyo. The area we are staying in is called TAKADANOBABA, and is the birth place of Astro Boy - in the comic he was made in a laboratory here.

The most poignant thing I read in the book was the first line - Naze ningen ha roboto wo tsukuru no ka - literally - why did humans robots make ? or in better english - why did humans make robots? The author then goes onto ask and why did humans make robots to work for them? He then writes ‘I dont know…’

The first part of the astro boy story outlines a possible reason. It shows the tragic and immediate death of a young boy who looks like astro boy. In the previous page he is driving a car and runs headlong into an oncoming truck. The pages I have photographed here show the father devistated, and his first instinct is to create a new son - as a robot.

So the stories motivation for creating a robot is thru one of loss. That of the loss of a son. Though this does not explain the reason for the creation of robots in general, but rather the creation of a particular robot to replace a loved son.

In considering this story, and in considering my own motivation to create a robotic flower - in the case of oribotics - I am beginning to think of my flowers as a replacement for the loss of nature in the urban environment, and in wider consideration, the loss of nature as an environment which we inhabit as a global society.

Theo Jansen

June 9, 2005 on 3:26 am | In Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I was told by an interested audience member after one of my talks in Amsterdam about the work of this man. Truly extraordinary! It is close in theme and principle to that of oribotics, but on a grand animalithic scale.

In particular see the video text and images on this page:

Tanteidan Monthly Meeting June

June 4, 2005 on 10:25 am | In Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Origami Tanteidan meets every month. Tanteidan means investigate, or investigators, and the icon for Tanteidan is a magnifying glass aka Sherlock Holmes. The Japanese Origami Academic Society or JOAS runs the meetings and also the yearly convention in Tokyo. The network of conventions extends beyond Tokyo, in the Kansai region, Shizuoka region are yearly events also, though the Tokyo one is by far the largest.

Spot the aussie

Anyway… I went to the June meeting today…

What every oriboticist needs in Tokyo

June 3, 2005 on 9:34 pm | In Events | No Comments

It had to be done… check out the bikes home page for full details-

Oritatami means folding bike - and this one folds the smallest and quickest - though the triangle shape is unusual but very strong…

Pierre Bastien

June 1, 2005 on 7:01 pm | In Day to Day | No Comments

While not strictly on the subject of oribotics, Pierre’s work relates to oribotics field of research. Simple mechanisms made using domestic materials - MECCANO! - to play musical instruments, he’s been working for a long time since 1977 it seems.

Check out his site

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