Department of Awesomeness Department: Sticky Actuators

Cool 3D printed actuators!! Action origami!!

A recent paper about a totally cool technology out of the MIT Media Lab: stick on actuators.

This is important and cool because the actuator systems are fabricated as plastic pouches, which can be stuck on conventional materials including paper, clay, plastic, etc. No need for “smart matter” or for complex mounts and assemblies.

The demos include adding actuators to origami, and to toys. So, you can add a couple of stickers and your crane flaps its wings. Origami robots – two of my favorite things!

But wait! There’s more!

The clever little ‘obbits from MIT fabricate them with a simple 3D printer like CNC machine that manipulates a heat pencil to weld two layers of plastic into pouches of any shape and configuration. Wow!

I want this! It should work pretty well for home use or maker space.

I recommend the paper which has a good review of other work, a programming by example facility, and some user studies, as well.

Very nicely done!


  1. Niiyama, Ryuma, Xu Sun, Lining Yao, Hiroshi Ishii, Daniela Rus, and Sangbae Kim, Sticky Actuator: Free-Form Planar Actuators for Animated Objects, in Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction. 2015, ACM: Stanford, California, USA. p. 77-84.

One thought on “Department of Awesomeness Department: Sticky Actuators”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s