Self-assembling objects from MIT – a new frontier for manufacturing?

MIT’s tangible media group presents ‘aeroMorph, the programmable paper, plastic, and fabric self-folding origami-like inflatable structures. the project showcases a design, simulation, and fabrication pipeline for making transforming objects.

The project is aimed at creating inflatable structures that autonomously fold like origami to create the end desired object.

MIT’s tangible media group‘s ‘aeroMorph’ works with a software tool that can generate bending mechanisms for a specific geometries, simulating its transformation, and exporting the compound geometry as digital fabrication files. the group has a range of fabrication methods from manual sealing, to heat pressing with custom stencils, and a custom heat-sealing head that can be mounted on usual 3-axis CNC machines to precisely fabricate the designed transforming material.


In 2015, a team of MIT researchers developed a printable origami robot that could fold itself up from a flat sheet of plastic when heated and measured about a centimeter from front to back.

Weighing only a third of a gram, the robot was able to swim, climb an incline, traverse rough terrain, and carry a load twice its weight.

Video: Melanie Gonick/MIT