Foldable Robotics

The focus of this class is to teach the engineering of foldable robotics to graduate students. We cover several aspects of foldable robotics development, such as the governing kinematic equations which govern two and three-dimensional motion of laminate mechanisms. We cover manufacturing aspects, such as laminate fabrication methods, design techniques, and computation using the Python programming language. And finally, students spend the last five weeks of the class developing a foldable robot which combines bio-inspired motion, sensing, and analysis in order to produce an improved design every week.

User Inspired Design

This class teaches the design process to sophomore-level students in the Polytechnic School, covering topics including opportunity identification, user needs identification, specification development, concept generation & selection, prototyping, modeling & analysis, experimental design, detailed design, business planning, design for manufacturing, and failure analysis.

Informal Robotics

Informal robotics is a class co-developed and taught by Dan Aukes, Chuck Hoberman, and Jonathan Grinham in Harvard’s Graduate School of Design(GSD). It was taught to a group of about 25 students per year, and was open to all students at the undergraduate and graduate level, including some students from MIT. One of the remarkable things about this class is that all of the students, regardless of their level, were able to develop and create foldable robots. This is made possible through the use of prototyping techniques which permit the rapid development of robotic mechanisms that permits design development through iteration rather than analysis.

Students spend a semester learning about kinematics, deployable mechanisms, and fabrication techniques while building more commplex designs each week. In addition, researchers from the Wyss institute at Harvard University

What emerged:

  • An Informal robotics symposium