Build a Paper Robot

This project requires a large team of participants to build a 2.4-metre tall humanoid robot from paper and string, capable of moving in order to perform a number of specific tasks.

The aims of this project are:

  • To explore the relationship between observing, drawing and making
  • To explore simple mechanisms for moving structures
  • To teach students about the coordination between different parts of a design team

The many anatomical sketches that Leonardo da Vinci produced in his codices were the inspiration for this project. Da Vinci used sketching as a way to study and explore the real world.

In much the same way, this project starts by asking participants to make sketches of parts of their own body in order to understand how they can design and build a given component of the robot. The human body uses a combination of simple joints to achieve a very large number of complex movements.

Studying the human body is an excellent way of learning about how mechanisms work. The parts of the human body all fit together and work in harmony with one-another: coordination between the various parts of the design team is therefore essential to ensure that their robot also works in harmony.

The downloadable documents contain participant and facilitator briefing notes, which can be printed off separately. The facilitator briefing notes give details of the material and space requirements for running this project.

Build a paper robot – participant instructions