This works discusses the use of magneto-active elastomer (MAE) as an active material for use in origami engineering and other applications where transformation of a composite structure between target shapes is desired. Magneto-active elastomer, as the name implies, consists of magnetic powders dispersed in an elastomer (polymer) fluid which is subsequently cured in the presence of a magnetic field to produce a net remanent magnetization in the cured solid. Having their own internal magnetization, MAE materials are affected by both magnetic forces, due to gradients in local field, as well as magnetic torques resulting from the cross product of the field and the magnetization. In this fashion, patches of MAE material, distributed throughout a non-magnetic elastomeric structure, act as distributed actuators producing deformed shapes. The use of rare-Earth magnets as the magnetic actuation elements is also investigated. The work highlights experimental efforts to develop structures with integrated MAE patches and rare-Earth magnets of varying magnetization orientations using multi-step casting processes and 3D printing techniques. Initial results show success at generating active structures having locally oriented MAE patches and magnets in accordion, water bomb and and Miru fold patterns.

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