CurveQuad: A centimeter-scale origami quadruped that leverages curved creases to self-fold and crawl with one motor

August 21st, 2023

We present CurveQuad, a miniature curved origami quadruped that is able to self-fold and unfold, crawl, and steer, all using a single actuator. CurveQuad is designed for planar manufacturing, with parts that attach and stack sequentially on a flat body. The design uses 4 curved creases pulled by 2 pairs of tendons from opposite ends of a link on a 270deg servo. It is 8 cm in the longest direction and weighs 10.9 g. Rotating the horn pulls the tendons inwards to induce folding. Continuing to rotate the horn shears the robot, enabling the robot to shuffle forward while turning in either direction. We experimentally validate the robot’s ability to fold, steer, and unfold by changing the magnitude of horn rotation. We also demonstrate basic feedback control by steering towards a light source from a variety of starting positions and orientations, and swarm aggregation by having 4 robots simultaneously steer towards the light. The results demonstrate the potential of using curved crease origami in self-assembling and deployable robots with complex motions such as locomotion.