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HOME > PAST ISSUE > March-April 2014 > Article Detail

FEATURE ARTICLE

The Challenge of Manufacturing Between Macro and Micro

Classic ways of folding paper into dynamic shapes—origami, pop-up books—inspire methods to engineer millimeter-scale machines.

Robert J. Wood

2014-03WoodF1p124.jpgClick to Enlarge ImageIn the current trend toward miniaturization, the sizes in between “normal” and “microscopic” get a bit neglected. Wood discusses various methods that his group has developed to construct electromechanical devices with feature sizes in the millimeter range, which he calls the meso-scale. He particularly describes work on devices inspired by children’s pop-up books, where items are formed flat using laser cutting and then folded into 3D shapes. By sandwiching layers and using movable folds, Wood can create functional devices such as small flying robots, surgical instruments, or environmental sensors.


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