A couple of researchers from Harvard and MIT respectively have created robot that fold itself into various origami-based shapes. Robert Wood and Daniela Rus developed a square sheet of material that can transform into a programmed shape when electricity is applied.
The so-called "programmable matter by folding" is made up triangular sections with flexible joints. These joints are controlled by twenty-five small motors that receive signals from the control software. Also dispersed around the sheet are an array of magnets that keep the folds in place once they are executed.
Right now the programmable matter can morph from a flat sheet to an origami boat and a plane. Both Wood and Rus said that potential applications for their technology include resizing drink cups that adjust to the amount of liquid, and tools that transform into different configuration.