Departmental Papers (ESE)


Streaming Media


We report on experiments with a laptop-sized (0.23m, 2.53kg), paper origami robot that exhibits highly dynamic and stable two degree-of-freedom (circular boom) hopping at speeds in excess of 1.5 bl/s (body-lengths per second) at a specific resistance O(1) while achieving aerial phase apex states 25% above the stance height over thousands of cycles. Three conventional brushless DC motors load energy into the folded paper springs through pulley-borne cables whose sudden loss of tension upon touchdown triggers the release of spring potential that accelerates the body back through liftoff to flight with a 20W powerstroke, whereupon the toe angle is adjusted to regulate fore-aft speed. We also demonstrate in the vertical hopping mode the transparency of this actuation scheme by using proprioceptive contact detection with only motor encoder sensing. The combination of actuation and sensing shows potential to lower system complexity for tendon-driven robots.

For more information: Kod*lab (link to

Sponsor Acknowledgements

This work is supported in part by the Army Research Office (ARO) under the SLICE Multidisciplinary University Research Initiatives (MURI) Program, award #W911NF1810327 and the National Science Foundation (NSF) grant #1845339. We thank Young-Joo Lee and Yuchong Gao for their insight in material properties, Jeremy Wang and Yifan Yuan for their help in fabrication, and Shane Rozen-Levy for his consulting on soft robotics literature. We also thank Diedra Krieger for her administrative support.

Document Type

Conference Paper

Subject Area

GRASP, Kodlab

Date of this Version


Publication Source

2020 3rd IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft)


origami, compliant mechanism, dynamic robots, tendon-driven



Date Posted: 25 March 2020

This document has been peer reviewed.