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Origami Wheel

A wheel is one of mankind's oldest and best inventions and has been used for most mobile devices and vehicles. Here, we propose a novel variable-diameter wheel design which combines the function of deformable wheel and airless tire by using a soft material based origami inspired design. By simply folding a patterned sheet into a wheel shape, a variable-diameter wheel was built without lots of mechanical parts and a complex assembly. Soft material allows the wheel’s diameter to change to more than 2.5 times of its original size, and origami structure allows the wheel to bear more than 400 times of its weight. The proposed wheel structure is an innovative concept that has not been tried before. We believe that it has enough potential to establish a new type of wheel design concept. The proposed wheel structure is capable of greatly enhancing the mobility of its applied devices that require to move in various environments such as an exploration robot in an extreme area and personal mobility.

Keywords : #Origami, #Transforming wheel

Related papers and patents


D.-Y. Lee, S.-R. Kim, J.-S. Kim, J.-J. Park, and K.-J. Cho, "Origami Wheel Transformer: A Variable-Diameter Wheel Drive Robot Using an Origami Structure," Soft Robotics, May. 2017 [PDF]

J.-Y. Lee, B. B. Kang, D.-Y. Lee, S.-M. Baek, W.-B. Kim, W.-Y. Choi, J.-R.Song, H.-J. Joo, D. Park and K.-J. Cho, “Development of a Multi-functional Soft Robot (SNUMAX) and Performance in RoboSoft Grand Challenge,” Frontiers in Robotics and AI, vol. 3, p. 63, 2016 [PDF]


D.-Y. Lee, J.-S. Kim, J.-J. Park, S.-R. Kim and K.-J. Cho, "Fabrication of Origami Wheel using Pattern Embedded Fabric and its Application to a Deformable Mobile Robot," IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2014 [PDF]


D.-Y. Lee, J.-S. Kim, S.-R. Kim, J.-S. Koh, K.-J. Cho, “The Deformable Wheel Robot using Magic-Ball Origami Structure”, ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences (IDETC), 2013 [PDF]


D.-Y. Lee, G.-P. Jung, M.-K. Sin, S.-H. Ahn and K.-J. Cho, “Deformable wheel robot based on origami structure," IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2013 [PDF]


D.-Y. Lee and K.-J. Cho, "Design of Compliant Origami Structure for Deformable Wheel Mechanism," International Symposium on Green Manufacturing and Applications (ISGMA), Jun. 2014

Variable diameter wheel (U.S. Patents Registration number 9,415,631)


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· E-mail : ae_dylee at

· Affiliation : Professor at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

Ph.D. / Alumni

Dae-Young Lee

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Sareum Kim.png

· E-mail : sareumkim1 at 
· Affiliation :  U. C. Berkely, U.S.A

Ph.D. / Alumni

Sa-Reum Kim

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· E-mail : rubagi05 at 
· Affiliation :  Agency of Defense Development, Korea

M.S. / Alumni

Ji-Suk Kim

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· E-mail : coorla at
· Research Topic : Soft robots, Origami inspired robots

Ph. D. Candidate

Jae-Kyeong Kim

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