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A Toolchain for the Design and Simulation of Foldable Programmable Matter

[+] Author Affiliations
Steven R. Gray, Jungwon Seo, Paul J. White, Nathan J. Zeichner, Mark Yim, Vijay Kumar

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Paper No. DETC2010-28838, pp. 1167-1176; 10 pages
  • ASME 2010 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 2: 34th Annual Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, Parts A and B
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, August 15–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4410-6 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3881-5
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


This paper presents a toolchain for the design and simulation of reconfigurable robots that can be built from a single rigid sheet of smart material with embedded actuators and sensors along regular crease patterns. We call such sheets Foldable Programmable Matter (FPM ). The toolchain we have created comprises an editor for drafting or modifying FPM , including locations and angles for folds. Algorithms for generating a class of folding structures are available for use. Also included is a dynamic simulation of the fold process, which provides collision detection and visualization. Thus our Foldable Programmable Matter Editor allows us to synthesize and design FPMs and simulate them in a virtual environment before committing to manufacture. The toolchain also incorporates a method of strength analysis, which is used to determine the suitability of a folded shape for specific loadings. Examples are shown for each subsection, including a beam example spanning the toolchain.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME
Topics: Matter , Simulation , Design



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