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According to embodiments, an optically-actuated mechanical device comprises at least one deformable section formed of: an element including an intrinsic stress differential or gradient, the stress tending to urge deformation of one portion relative to another portion; and an optically-sensitive material which is configured to (i) initially prevent deformation of the device, and (ii) upon sufficient heating by absorbing optical energy allows the element to deform. The devices may be incorporated into various devices and apparatuses for select, non-contact actuation using only optical energy, for example, via light, from one or more lasers. Methods for fabricating and actuating such devices are also disclosed.