We know that, with the right equipment, anything is printable. Including robots. We just didn’t know you had to bake them first.
Researchers at MIT, led by Professor Daniela Rus, have developed a system of flat patterns which can be printed onto plastic that can self-fold under heat into 3D shapes. The same team also developed a range of components including sensors, actuators, resistors and capacitors, provide the ‘intelligence’ and mechanics that enable robots’ movements.
Rus has a dream of creating a “hardware complier”, where you would be able to specify – “I want a robot that will play with my cat” or “I want a robot that will clean the floor” – and create just such a robot from that spec.
Once again, technology that seems to be driven by the needs of cats (the internet would be nothing without them), but that doesn’t stop us looking for a printer, and an oven.