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Case Western Professor Creates Origami-Inspired Robot

TWISTER robot arm
Greg Lee

What started as a “fun hobby project” based on a love of origami may turn into a device with the potential to work in manufacturing, surgery, and even in space.

Kiju Lee,  an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Case Western Reserve University is the principal investigator for a project called TWISTER, short for TWISted TowEr Robot.

This semi-soft robot is able to grasp and work with various materials without exerting significant pressure on the object.

Lee says their initial focus was on surgical applications.

“So this unique mechanism can offer additional degree freedom that can be used for kind of mimicking the surgeon’s wrist so that it can provide a better performance when it is used in a very tight and harsh environment such as the human body,” Lee said.

Lee recently began to develop 3-D printed versions of the robot and has plans for various sized prototypes in the near future.