Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
Rog 226

Speaker Information

Sam Felton
Technology Development Fellow
Wyss Institute at Harvard University


Origami has a long history in art, mathematics, and biology, and similar folding techniques have produced exciting advances in design and fabrication. This has resulted in structures that can drastically change their size, algorithms that generate origami folds to approximate any shape, and self-folding sheets that autonomously transform into 3D structures.

Folding will enable the next generation of agile, deployable, and self-assembling robots, but we must first develop new design tools, fabrication techniques, and actuators tailored for machines. I will present my research into folded robotic systems in three specific areas: 1) developing and modeling new self-folding methods that are suitable for the size and complexity of autonomous robots; 2) identifying geometric components that can be combined to build complex shapes and mechanisms, and demonstrating these components in several self-folding devices; and 3) harnessing the dynamic properties of flexible folded structures to build mechanically intelligent structures that reduce controller complexity. This work demonstrates the potential of robust folded machines, which will enable rapid printable manufacturing, autonomous deployment, and parallel assembly of robotic swarms.

Speaker Bio

Sam Felton is a Technology Development Fellow in the Wyss Institute at Harvard University, where he is developing soft machines for commercial applications. He received his Ph.D. in engineering sciences from Harvard University in 2015. He is interested in the design and fabrication of adaptable and transformable robots.