Designing Origami-Adapted Deployable Modules for Soft Continuum Arms

  • Ketao ZhangEmail author
  • Kaspar Althoefer
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11649)


Origami has several attractive attributes including deployability and portability which have been extensively adapted in designs of robotic devices. Drawing inspiration from foldable origami structures, this paper presents an engineering design process for fast making deployable modules of soft continuum arms. The process is illustrated with an example which adapts a modified accordion fold pattern to a lightweight deployable module. Kinematic models of the four-sided Accordion fold pattern is explored in terms of mechanism theory. Taking account of both the kinematic model and the materials selection, a 2D flat sheet model of the four-sided Accordion fold pattern is obtained for 3D printing. Following the design process, the deployable module is then fabricated by laminating 3D printed origami skeleton and flexible thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) coated fabric. Preliminary tests of the prototype shown that the folding motion are enabled mainly by the flexible fabric between the gaps of thick panels of the origami skeleton and matches the kinematic analysis. The proposed approach has advantages of quick scaling dimensions, cost effective and fast fabricating thus allowing adaptive design according to specific demands of various tasks.


Origami-folding 3D printing Deployable module 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queen Mary University of LondonLondonUK

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