Here we describe the development of a humidity-responsive sheet of paper that is derived solely from natural pollen. Adaptive soft material components of the paper exhibit diverse and well-integrated responses to humidity that promote shape reconfiguration, actuation, and locomotion. This mechanically versatile and nonallergenic paper can generate a cyclically high contractile stress upon water absorption and desorption, and the rapid exchange of water drives locomotion due to hydrodynamic effects. Such dynamic behavior can be finely tuned by adjusting the structure and properties of the paper, including thickness, surface roughness, and processing conditions, analogous to those of classical soapmaking. We demonstrate that humidity-responsive paper-like actuators can mimic the blooming of the Michelia flower and perform self-propelled motion. Harnessing the material properties of bioinspired systems such as pollen paper opens the door to a wide range of sustainable, eco-friendly, and biocompatible material innovation platforms for applications in sensing, actuation, and locomotion.
natural materials, biomimetics, pollen, actuators, wearable sensor