Research ArticleSOFT ROBOTS

Bioinspired dual-morphing stretchable origami

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Science Robotics  27 Nov 2019:
Vol. 4, Issue 36, eaay3493
DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.aay3493

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Abstract

Nature demonstrates adaptive and extreme shape morphing via unique patterns of movement. Many of them have been explained by monolithic shape-changing mechanisms, such as chemical swelling, skin stretching, origami/kirigami morphing, or geometric eversion, that were successfully mimicked in artificial analogs. However, there still remains an unexplored regime of natural morphing that cannot be reproduced in artificial systems by a “single-mode” morphing mechanism. One example is the “dual-mode” morphing of Eurypharynx pelecanoides (commonly known as the pelican eel), which first unfolds and then inflates its mouth to maximize the probability of engulfing the prey. Here, we introduce pelican eel–inspired dual-morphing architectures that embody quasi-sequential behaviors of origami unfolding and skin stretching in response to fluid pressure. In the proposed system, fluid paths were enclosed and guided by a set of entirely stretchable origami units that imitate the morphing principle of the pelican eel’s stretchable and foldable frames. This geometric and elastomeric design of fluid networks, in which fluid pressure acts in the direction that the whole body deploys first, resulted in a quasi-sequential dual-morphing response. To verify the effectiveness of our design rule, we built an artificial creature mimicking a pelican eel and reproduced biomimetic dual-morphing behavior. By compositing the basic dual-morphing unit cells into conventional origami frames, we demonstrated architectures of soft machines that exhibit deployment-combined adaptive gripping, crawling, and large range of underwater motion. This design principle may provide guidance for designing bioinspired, adaptive, and extreme shape-morphing systems.

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