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The research objective of this Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) Origami Design for the Integration of Self-assembling Systems for Engineering Innovation (ODISSEI) award is to create computational materials called programmable origami whose properties can be programmed to achieve specific shapes or mechanical properties, such as stiffnesses, upon command. Creating functional programmable origami systems poses many technical challenges. New computational materials that integrate sensing, actuation, computation, and communication will be designed. New planning and control algorithms will be developed to enable the creation of a desired origami object using computational materials and autonomous folding operations. The materials and algorithms will be integrated in a programmable origami system capable of producing a range of different origami geometries.
If successful, the results of this research will provide an opportunity to create smart devices that are capable of accomplishing self-assembling tasks. Example applications include the creation of specialized soft tooling for manufacturing, customized toolkits, and project kits for education. Devices made possible by the research will combine the advantages of planar fabrication with autonomous self-assembly. The results will be disseminated to allow the creation of commercial devices that can be fabricated rapidly at reduced cost, reduced weight, and improved recyclability. Graduate and undergraduate engineering students and pre-service teachers will benefit through classroom instruction and involvement in the research. Students studying to be 6-12 technology and pre-engineering teachers will be engaged to provide them firsthand research experience that they can draw on throughout their teaching careers.