Research ArticleBIOMIMETICS

Ladybird beetle–inspired compliant origami

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Science Robotics  15 Apr 2020:
Vol. 5, Issue 41, eaaz6262
DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.aaz6262


Origami can enable structures that are compact and lightweight. The facets of an origami structure in traditional designs, however, are essentially nondeformable rigid plates. Therefore, implementing energy storage and robust self-locking in these structures can be challenging. We note that the intricately folded wings of a ladybird beetle can be deployed rapidly and effectively sustain aerodynamic forces during flight; these abilities originate from the geometry and deformation of a specialized vein in the wing of this insect. We report compliant origami inspired by the wing vein in ladybird beetles. The deformation and geometry of the compliant facet enables both large energy storage and self-locking in a single origami joint. On the basis of our compliant origami, we developed a deployable glider module for a multimodal robot. The glider module is compactly foldable, is rapidly deployable, and can effectively sustain aerodynamic forces. We also apply our compliant origami to enhance the energy storage capacity of the jumping mechanism in a jumping robot.

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