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Flip the Unmanageable Over

Manipulating soft objects through an origami-based modular reconfigurable surface.

V1, 2022

Ziqiao Wang, Serhat Demirtas

Demo Duration: 


We present a modular and reconfigurable surface for manipulating delicate items based on origami robotics. Our goal is to develop a general-purpose reconfigurable and modular surface for manipulating soft objects of any shape.

Traditional manipulation strategies often need to know a lot of information about the target object in advance, such as shape and stiffness, to perform accurate control when dealing with delicate target objects. However, this information is complicated to obtain. Imagine how to know the stiffness of a piece of croissant in advance?

A reconfigurable surface with two modules, each having 3-DOF, is going to demonstrate manipulation tasks by flipping, rotating, and translating a croissant.

This demonstration presents the ability of the reconfigurable surface to manipulate items which are challenging to handle due to irregularity in shape and/or softness.

The developed surface demonstrates a *first step* paradigm shift in the manipulation world, one not confined with the robotic arms. If applied to the produce industry, it promises a greener future by eliminating the requirement for long-distance transportation for manual handling, and it will also free workers from repetitive and arduous work.


Layer-by-layer manufactured origami parts including fiberglass, polyimide, and adhesive; servo motors, 3D printed PLA connectors, acrylic sheet surface.


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