The team calls its creations “robogamis.” At a conference last month, it unveiled Tribot, which moves like an inchworm. But the most exciting part about Tribot is that it doesn’t only shuffle, it can jump sevens times its own height, because it’s so light — about 4 grams. The way the robot works is that they’re using “intelligent sprints” which are made from a shape memory alloy. By heating the robot, its possible to make the materials return to their original shape. When these bots are moving, they’re actually thermally activating different parts of the robot.
It’s possible to ship these kind of robots flat-packed, which would save a significant amount of money for shipping and assembly. Researchers believe it’s possible to 3D print these kinds of robogamis, as well. It’s also possible we see these kind of locomotion techniques used in robots in space.