Electro-ribbon actuators and electro-origami robots

Majid Taghavi, Tim Helps, Jonathan Rossiter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)
1008 Downloads (Pure)


Origami has inspired novel solutions across myriad fields from DNA synthesis to robotics. Even wider impact can be achieved by active origami, which can move and change shape independently. However, current active origami and the materials that power it are both limited in terms of strength, speed and strain. In this article, we introduce a new electrostatic active origami concept, electro-origami, which overcomes these limitations and allows for simple, inexpensive, lightweight, efficient, powerful and scalable electronic actuators and a new generation of lightweight and thin robots. The simplest embodiment of electro-origami, electro-ribbon actuators, can be easily fabricated from any combination of conducting and insulating material. We present electro-ribbon actuators that can lift 1000 times their own weight, contract by 99.8% of their length, and deliver specific energy and specific power equivalent to muscle. We demonstrate their versatility in high-stroke and high-force morphologies, multi-actuator lattices, 3D-printed and paper actuators, self-twisting spirals and tensile elements inspired by spider silk. More complex electro-origami devices include solenoids, adaptive grippers, robotic cilia, locomoting robots, self-packing deployable structures, origami artificial muscles and dynamic origami art.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaau9795
Number of pages13
JournalScience Robotics
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2018

Structured keywords

  • Tactile Action Perception


  • electro-origami
  • electro-ribbon actuators
  • soft robotics


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