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Abstracts & Short Bio

Biruta Kresling and Pooya Sareh

The Kresling origami pattern: From invention to applications in soft robotics

The Japanese term "origami" ("oru": fold, "kami": paper) refers to the ancient art form practiced in China and Japan, but is commonly applied to mathematical and mechanical descriptions of special properties of 3D-foldings realised from initially flat, developable surfaces. Paper is commonly used for design experiments, but for applications engineers may use sheets of other materials or create objects directly by a 3D or 4D printing. In the context of robotics, novel concepts for "soft robotics" have emerged over the past three decades based upon synergies between biomimetics and origami engineering.

The Kresling origami pattern is a naturally obtained periodic tessellation in cylindrical thin-walled shells that are used to design collapsible / deployable continuum bodies as well as single cells. In the talk ­ given by the inventor and the origami engineering expert ­ we shall demonstrate, with 'one-second- workshop' experiments, how under a load of coupled compression-torsion forces a paper cylinder collapses spontaneously to a surprisingly regular, flat-folded, diaphragm. The mechanism was discovered in an experimental design course by Biruta Kresling, and first described by her in 1994 [1].

It is well known that cylinders collapse by buckling to diamond-shaped lozenges, producing a fold-pattern named after Y. Yoshimura, a NASA engineer, who described this pattern in steel containers. Ductile deformation of the buckled walls prevents the Yoshimura pattern re-expanding. By contrast the Kresling twist buckling pattern can be repeatedly collapsed and deployed without apparent damage, thanks to the diaphragmatic belt forming a kinetic chain between transverse sections of regular polygons which remain undeformed and where creases act as linear rotational joints [2][3].

Single Kresling cells and whole Kresling towers of several cells have been used worldwide since 2013, mainly in engineering projects for robotic bodies with locomotory gaits similar to caterpillars The pattern is also used for robotic soft arms actuated by cables or by magnetic plates covering the cells top and bottom that mimic the soft gripping action of the octopus’s arms. Some designs form crawling units, others form tiny single spinning cells able to move on a substrate or in liquids. A recent development uses the bistable or multistable properties of diaphragmatic belts, in which by limiting the number of twisted parallelograms we can design other Kresling patterns. Interestingly, exploiting the load-bearing properties of transformed patterns, these structures exhibit tunable stiffness or even enhanced resistance to axial buckling.

The workshop presentation shows briefly current research work and comments on some promising novel applications.

Short bio: Biruta Kresling

Born in Berlin, based in Paris
1965 Diploma at Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, professional activity in architecture and city-planning in Paris.
From 1978 till now Freelance scientific research and publications, together with the Zoology department in Saarbruecken (Germany), the Center for Biomimetics in Reading and Bath (UK), and with the Structural Morphology Group (IASS, Civil Engineering).
1984-1989 Cocommissioner of the exhibition on Bionics at the Paris Museum of Natural History. 1989 After meeting astrophysicist Koryo Miura (ISAS, Tokyo) she introduces folded structures in her lectures and conferences on Experimental Design and Bionics in France and Austria.
1998 / 1999 Artist in residence at Villa Kujoyama in Kyoto, and solo exhibition "Bionics – Origami of Evolution." in Tokyo.
The spontaneous folding pattern in thin walled cylinders ("Kresling origami pattern") is named after her, and finds applications in a great number of engineering projects worldwide.

[1] Β. Kresling (1994, publ. 1997) Folded and Unfolded Nature. Proceedings 2nd International Meeting of Origami Science and Scientific Origami, Otsu, Shiga, Japan. Nov 29 - Dec 2, 1994 (K. Miura ,ed.) pp.93-108.

[2] B. Kresling (2008) Natural twist buckling in shells: from the hawkmoth's bellows to thedeployable Kresling-pattern and cylindrical Miura-ori. 2008, Cornell University, Ithaka, N.Y. USA, (J. Abel and J.R. Cooke, Eds.) pp. 1-4 (pp. 18-21).

[3] B. Kresling (2020) The Fifth Fold - Complex Symmetries in Kresling origami patterns. Symmetry: Culture and Science 31 (4): pp. 403-415.DOI: 10.26830/symmetry_2020_4_403

Benjamin Gorissen

Inflatable origami – exploiting nonlinearities for functionality.

Abstract: Soft inflatables are characterized by large deformations that occur throughout their entire body. By introducing origami in the design, large global deformations still occur, however the system behaves more like a mechanism. These structures uniquely feature an energy landscape that is governed by only few degrees of freedom. By harnessing nonlinearities we can even program functionality in this energy landscape. Here we exploit this paradigm using two demonstrators. First we show the ability to program bistability within, resulting in the development of deployable tents and arcs. Second, multimodality can also be incorporated, eliminating a one-to-one relation between input signal and deformation mode of the inflatable systems. 

Short bio: Benjamin Gorissen performed his Ph.D research on micro soft robotic actuators at KU Leuven in Belgium and in part at Ritsumeikan University, Japan. He worked as a postdoc research at the KU Leuven and Harvard University in the field of nonlinear mechanics with a focus on harnessing nonlinearities in soft and deployable systems. In 2021 he worked at Facebook Reality Labs, before becoming a faculty at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at KU Leuven in 2022.

Dae-Young Lee

A Method to Create Extreme Origami Applications

Abstract: Folding is a long-standing and effective solution for space-saving problems in both natural and artificial systems. Origami-inspired design enables a foldable structure to be lightweight, compact, and scalable while maintaining its kinematic behavior by replacing mechanical components with a pattern of stiff facets and flexure hinges. This unique property makes origami-inspired designs widely applied to create transformable machines in various scales and for a variety of applications, from microrobots to space structures. This study aims to broaden the application window of origami with extreme payload transformable wheels for a passenger vehicle. In addition to the high load capacity, the developed composite membrane origami provides softness and flexibility to the kinematic mechanism of the wheel, thus neutralizing distortions and absorbing shocks from the ground. Also, the proposed origami method offers unique benefits, including fabrication efficiency (420 joint structures assembled within 4 h), payload-to-weight ratio (>50), and shape variation ratio (~1.7). The feasibility of the proposed concept was verified through a field test.

Short bio: Dae-Young Lee is an Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering and the director of the Aerospace Robotics and Mechanisms Lab at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Republic of Korea. His research interests lie in the areas of soft robotics, space robotics, and origami-inspired novel-mechanisms that utilize smart materials, structures, and actuators. He received his B.S. degree from Pohang University of Science and Technology in 2011, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degree from Seoul National University in 2013 and 2017, respectively. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory until 2021.

Pooya Sareh

Title: How to fold it ‘perfectly’? The design theory behind practical origami robots

Abstract: Origami tessellations are a rich source of inspiration in the design of transformable structures and reconfigurable robots. Among all such tessellations, the developable double corrugation (DDC) surface, popularly known as the Miura-ori, is perhaps the most ubiquitous origami pattern. Origami artists, designers, and researchers in various fields of science and engineering have proposed a range of symmetric variations for this pattern. While designing many such derivatives is straightforward, some of them present considerable geometric or crystallographic challenges. In general, the problem of finding flat-foldable derivatives for a given origami tessellation is more challenging for less symmetric descendants. This talk aims to present an overview of designing origami tessellations based on a methodology developed by the presenter, which has enabled the creation of a family of DDC surfaces with more complex geometries and new potential applications in robotics and engineering. He particularly explains the design process of the least symmetric derivative of the Miura fold pattern with minimal unit cell enlargement in the longitudinal direction. This study raises a fundamental problem in the flat-foldability of quadrilateral-shaped flat sheets on fold lines through their vertices. An analytical solution to this general problem is presented along with solutions for some practical special cases.

Short bio: Dr Pooya Sareh is currently an Assistant Professor (UK Lecturer) of Engineering Design at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Liverpool, UK. He is also a Professor and Co-Director in the Doctoral Program in Production Engineering and Industrial Design at the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM). He received a PhD in Engineering (Structural Mechanics) from the University of Cambridge, UK, in 2014, and then worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Robotics and a Lecturer of Engineering Design at Imperial College London, UK. His current research is on adaptive & deployable structures, origami/kirigami engineering & mechanical metamaterials, mobile robotics & vehicle design, and data-driven design & optimisation.

Hongliang Ren

Title: Deployable and foldable active mechanisms in confined spaces

Abstract: Robotic applications in confined spaces demand deployment efficacy in space-saving, shape-forming, and structure-morphing on the fly. Deployable mechanisms (DM) refer to the mechanics of the device actuation that can bring an object from a point, such as outside the body, to another target area, such as inside a body. DM can change its geometry to reduce bulk size and improve transportability in confined spaces. Upon reaching the target site, the mechanisms can reconfigure their geometry to accomplish a new purpose, such as inspections, collecting samples or delivering drugs.

We look at how to design the morphic structures using DM design, and how the crease patterns can encode the necessary information to morph structures. The type of structures should also consider various actuation methods and transformation/morphing mechanisms. For example, we recently developed approaches using magnetic elastomers and folding templates as a library that can simultaneously program a wide range of deployable mechanisms with inherent crease foldability. Additionally, magnetic responsive robots can encompass bistable actuation imparted from the crease design. These robots have the potential to be deployed from a compact folded form to confined environments, enabling a broader spectrum of minimally invasive procedures.

Short bio: Hongliang Ren received his Ph.D. in Electronic Engineering (Specialized in Biomedical Engineering) from The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) in 2008.  He has navigated his academic journey through Chinese University of Hong Kong, Johns Hopkins University, Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, Children’s National Medical Center, United States, and National University of Singapore (NUS). 

He is currently Associate Professor, Department of Electronic Engineering at Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering at National University of Singapore. He has served as an Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Automation Science & Engineering (T-ASE) and Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing (MBEC).

His areas of interest include biorobotics, intelligent control, medical mechatronics, soft continuum robots, soft sensors, and multisensory learning in medical robotics. He is the recipient of NUS Young Investigator Award and Engineering Young Researcher Award, IAMBE Early Career Award 2018, Interstellar Early Career Investigator Award 2018, ICBHI Young Investigator Award 2019, and Health Longevity Catalyst Award 2022 by NAM & RGC.

Renee Zhao

Multifunctional Origami Robots

Abstract: Millimeter/centimeter-scale origami robots have recently been explored for biomedical applications due to their inherent shape-morphing capability. However, they mainly rely on passive or/and irreversible deformation that significantly hinders the clinic functions in an on-demand manner. Here, we report magnetically actuated origami robots that can crawl and swim for effective locomotion and targeted drug delivery in severely confined spaces and aqueous environments. We design our robots based on origami, whose thin shell structure 1) provides an internal cavity for drug storage, 2) permits torsion-induced contraction as a crawling mechanism and a pumping mechanism for controllable liquid medicine dispensing, 3) serves as propellers that spin for propulsion to swim, 4) offers anisotropic stiffness to overcome the large resistance from the severely confined spaces in biomedical environments. These magnetic origami robots can potentially serve as minimally invasive devices for biomedical diagnoses and treatments.

Short bio: Renee Zhao is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, a Terman faculty fellow, and a Gabilan faculty fellow at Stanford University. Renee received her PhD degree in Solid Mechanics from Brown University in 2016. She spent two years as a postdoc associate at MIT working on modeling of soft composites. Before Renee joined Stanford, she was an Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University from 2018 to 2021. Renee’s research concerns the development of stimuli-responsive soft composites and shape morning mechanisms for multifunctional robotic systems. Renee is a recipient of the NSF Career Award (2020), AFOSR Young Investigator Program (YIP) Award (2023), ARO Early Career Program (ECP) Award (2023), the 2022 ASME Pi Tau Sigma Gold Medal, and the 2022 ASME Henry Hess Early Career Publication Award, and the ASME Journal of Applied Mechanics award (2021).

Cynthia Sung

Origami-Inspired Design for Dynamical Robots

Abstract: Recent years have seen a large interest in soft robotic systems, which provide new opportunities for machines that are flexible, adaptable, safe, and robust. In this talk, I will share efforts from my group to use origami-inspired design approaches to create compliant robots capable of executing dynamical tasks. I will show how the kinematics and compliance of a pattern can be designed to produce a particular mechanical response and how we can leverage these designs for better performance and simpler control in tasks such as hopping and swimming.

Short bio: Cynthia Sung is the Gabel Family Term Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics (MEAM) and a member of the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing & Perception (GRASP) lab at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests are computational methods for design automation of robotic systems, with a particular focus on origami-inspired and compliant robots. She is the recipient of a 2023 ONR Young Investigator award, a 2020 Johnson & Johnson Women in STEM2D Scholars Award, and a 2019 NSF CAREER award.

Hongying Zhang

Abstract: Origami robots, known for their compact design, quasi-two-dimensional manufacturing process, and folding joint-based transmission kinematics, pose challenges for conventional mathematical modeling due to their specific physical requirements. This work addresses the need for a
comprehensive mechanics model for origami robots by proposing a nonlinear lattice-and-plate model. The model enables rapid simulation of various aspects, including localized bending on flexible hinges, global displacements of rigid panels, the trajectory of predefined outputs, and accounting for large displacement and self-contact during locomotion. The efficiency and effectiveness of the proposed
model are validated through simulations involving origami actuators, grippers, and metamaterials. Ultimately, the computational model offers a valuable tool for expediting the design iteration of origami robots.

Short bio: Dr. Hongying Zhang is a researcher specializing in smart robotic systems. She obtained her B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST)
in 2013, followed by a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the National University of Singapore
(NUS) in 2018. Afterward, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), sponsored by Facebook Reality Labs. Currently serving as a Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at NUS, Dr. Zhang’s research primarily revolves around the design, modeling, actuation, fabrication, and control of smart robotic systems. Her approach emphasizes the development of compact robotic systems with compliant structures and intelligent control, seamlessly integrating mechanical intelligence and machine intelligence. Her expertise encompasses various fields, including soft robots, structural optimization, and origami engineering. Dr. Zhang’s work is published in esteemed journals and conferences like AFM, TMECH, Soft Robotics, ICRA, IROS, MSEC, and others. Her research findings showcase her dedication to advancing the field of smart robotics.

Dewi Brunet


Short Bio: He is an artist specialised in folding, as a technique, as an art, as a field of research. He has 16 years of experience in folding : origami, pleating and crumpling. He delivers his knowledge and view of the world through his creations, workshops, urban installations…
He is currently interested on the links between humans, nature and technology. He is also comanager of the fablab OpenFab, active in the field of new technology, education and the sharing economy.