Inflatable Origami: Multimodal Deformation via Multistability

Antonio Forte, David Melancon, Leon M. Kamp, Benjamin Gorissen, Katia Bertoldi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Inflatable structures have become essential components in the design of soft robots and deployable systems as they enable dramatic shape change from a single pressure inlet. This simplicity, however, often brings a strict limitation: unimodal deformation upon inflation. Here, multistability is embraced to design modular, inflatable structures that can switch between distinct deformation modes as a response to a single input signal. This system comprises bistable origami modules in which pressure is used to trigger a snap-through transition between a state of deformation characterized by simple deployment to a state characterized by bending deformation. By assembling different modules and tuning their geometry to cause snapping at different pressure thresholds, structures capable of complex deformations that can be pre-programmed and activated using only one pressure source are created. This approach puts forward multistability as a paradigm to eliminate a one-to-one relation between input signal and deformation mode in inflatable systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2201891
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number35
Early online date3 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2022


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