For some time, Carl Bugeja has been experimenting with electromagnetic actuators integrated into printed circuits. It’s a pretty ingenious concept, and currently he’s selling his little Flexar actuator stickers on its website. A driver board is also available there, which can be used with the stickers to manipulate a permanent magnet, and even buzz audibly if needed.
It’s a cool enough setup to inspire any number of projects, and the design the files are available on GitHub if you want to integrate this concept into your own PCB.
If you need even more inspiration, Bugeja incorporates these actuators into a variety of origami figures in the video below. Although not all bent artwork is appropriate – one must be aware of mechanical and temperature considerations when using an actuator this way – it has good success with several items. These include a dog flapping its ears; a scorpion; and, what he considers his finest origami work, a very pretty parrot.
For the parrot, he integrated his powerful 12 Layer Spool Actuators on the wings, as well as magnets on the body. He also added a flexible actuator in his neck area for extra movement, and coded some music to parrot it.
It’s a pretty impressive build, showing how multiple skills can be combined to create something really good. Bugeja didn’t cover the actual folding process (which would make the video quite long). If you are interested in these details, the origami tutorials are linked in its video description.