In situ stiffness manipulation using elegant curved origami

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Science Advances  18 Nov 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 47, eabe2000
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abe2000


The capability of stiffness manipulation for materials and structures is essential for tuning motion, saving energy, and delivering high power. However, high-efficiency in situ stiffness manipulation has not yet been successfully achieved despite many studies from different perspectives. Here, curved origami patterns were designed to accomplish in situ stiffness manipulation covering positive, zero, and negative stiffness by activating predefined creases on one curved origami pattern. This elegant design enables in situ stiffness switching in lightweight and space-saving applications, as demonstrated through three robotic-related components. Under a uniform load, the curved origami can provide universal gripping, controlled force transmissibility, and multistage stiffness response. This work illustrates an unexplored and unprecedented capability of curved origami, which opens new applications in robotics for this particular family of origami patterns.

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