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An Origami-Inspired, SMA Actuated Lifting Structure

[+] Author Affiliations
Leo J. Wood, Jaime Rendon, Richard J. Malak, Darren Hartl

Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

Paper No. DETC2016-60261, pp. V05BT07A024; 10 pages
  • ASME 2016 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 5B: 40th Mechanisms and Robotics Conference
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, August 21–24, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5016-9
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


Origami engineering is the study of the construction principles found in the art of origami and application of those principles to various engineering applications. Although origami engineering researchers have addressed the tasks of lifting a load and supporting a static load, to our knowledge no one has demonstrated a system combining these two important capabilities. In this paper, we describe an origami-inspired actuator that can fold flat, lift a load, and then support that load structurally with no electrical or mechanical input. The design is based on a bistable origami pattern similar to the classical origami waterbomb base, and is actuated by shape memory alloy (SMA) wires in torsion. We detail a framework for the generalized structure and actuation method of SMA wires as well as the construction and testing of a proof-of-concept lifter. This proof of concept structure, weighing 22 grams, is able to lift a 50g load in 8 seconds using a 2.5 Volt input, and statically support 200g even after the cessation of voltage input. We conduct a preliminary analysis into the parameters of the structure that most affect its lifting capabilities.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME



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