This is probably the most incredible thing I’ve seen in a while. Scientists at MIT have created the impossible in this Untethered Miniature Origami Robot that self-assembles, walks, swims, carries small items, and climbs up various grades. Video presented at the IEEE 2015 ICRA Conference in Seattle, WA.
…we present a novel single-sheet structure that self-folds into a centimeter-sized mobile robot that subsequently walks, swims, and dissolves. The robot is controlled using an external magnetic field exerted by embedded coils underneath the robot. Equipped with just one permanent magnet, the robot features a lightweight body yet can perform many tasks reliably despite its simplicity. The minimal body materials enable the robot to completely dissolve in a liquid environment, a difficult challenge to accomplish if the robot had a more complex architecture. This study is the first to demonstrate that a functional robotic device can be created and operated from the material level, promising versatile applications including use in vivo.