Scientists from Harvard and MIT have designed a robot that assembles itself and walks away to do its job with zero human input. The robots start out as a flat sheet of paper and polystyrene plastic (which you most likely know as Shrinky Dinks) etched with strategically placed hinges. Since those materials aren’t enough to make a full-fledged robot, the scientists also placed a flexible circuit board in the middle (with circuits extending to every hinge), two motors, a microcontroller and two batteries.
It’s the microcontroller that’s in charge of activating the circuits to produce heat on command, which then leads to the flat sheet folding itself like an origami. When the hinges cool after a few minutes and the polystyrene hardens, the microcontroller commands the robot to scuttle away and do its thing. And so begins our demise.