Scientists at Harvard University and MIT (where else) have developed an origami-inspired robot that can assemble itself and move around completely autonomously. The scientists' prototype can transform itself from a flat structure to a functional, moving machine in about 4 minutes before scuttling away at a speed of about 5 cm per second.
The robot assembles itself by applying heat to specific areas using its on-board heater. The application of heat makes the plastic bend and shape itself to form the robot's body, frame and legs. Once the heat has been applied and the material has cooled into its new shape, the robot lifts itself up, powers up and runs away.
Aside from just being plain cool, the origami-inspired robot could aid in the development of pop-up machines and devices that could assemble themselves without human assistance.