EFRI-ODISSEI: Multi-field Responsive Origami Structures - Advancing the Emerging Frontier of Active Compliant Mechanisms

Project: Research project

Project Details


The research objective of this Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) Origami Design for the Integration of Self-Assembling Systems for Engineering Innovation (ODISSEI) award is to develop methods to design origami structures that actively fold from an initially flat sheet to complex three-dimensional shapes in response to multiple fields (e.g., electric, thermal, magnetic). They will also actively unfold, in contrast to current origami structures that must be manually unfolded. These multi-field responsive origami shapes will be developed through collaboration with a visual artist and approximated and modeled using geometric modeling and

origami mathematics. The artistically inspired shapes will provide targets for designing novel active compliant mechanisms, which along with predictive multi-scale modeling and multi-physics simulations, will guide the development of new active materials. This new class of multi-field responsive materials includes micro- and nano-enabled hybrids where a graded distribution of particles enables coupling between multiple external fields to allow selective folding and unfolding along creases. A design optimization framework will be developed to integrate the modeling, design, and active materials efforts and enable system trade studies from the nano to the macro scale.

Successful completion of this project will foster novel concepts and design innovation in several application areas. For example, origami-based surgical instruments will benefit minimally invasive surgery, where there is a need for mm-scale devices that can deploy inside the body to manipulate tissue. Similarly, origami-based adaptive aircraft structures, reconfigurable robots, and deployable space structures will help enhance mission versatility. A summer student exchange program and multi-university capstone design projects among Penn State, Rowan, and George Mason will help broaden participation of under-represented groups in engineering

and STEM majors. The research will also be leveraged to create interactive artistic pieces and K-12-targeted workshops for the Discovery Space Museum in State College, PA and Penn State's Palmer Museum of Art.

Effective start/end date8/1/127/31/17


  • National Science Foundation: $2,124,000.00


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