‘Action-at-a-distance’ metamaterials for soft robotics, developed by TU Delft researchers (video)

soft robotics

Action-at-a-distance’ metamaterials for soft robotics, developed by TU Delft researchers

Mechanical metamaterials are a sub-category of designer materials where the geometry of the material at the small-scale is rationally designed to give rise to unusual properties and functionalities. Here, we propose the concept of “action-at-a-distance” metamaterials where a specific pattern of local deformation is programmed into the fabric of (cellular) materials. The desired pattern of local actuation could then be achieved simply through the application of one single global and far-field force. We proposed graded designs of auxetic and conventional unit cells with changing Poisson’s ratios as a way of making “action-at-a-distance” metamaterials.
We explored five types of graded designs including linear, two types of radial gradients, checkered, and striped. Specimens were fabricated with indirect additive manufacturing and tested under compression, tension, and shear. Full-field strain maps measured with digital image correlation confirmed different patterns of local actuation under similar far-field strains. These materials have potential applications in soft (wearable) robotics and exosuits.

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Novel mathematical approach pushes innovation in 4D printing

Novel mathematical

Novel mathematical approach pushes innovation in 4D printing

Recent advances in digital factory science make it possible to print more compliant objects across a wider range of length-scales than conventional engineering processes. A bottleneck for enabling the next technological progress resides in filling the gap in the comprehension of the unprecedented degree of complexity dominating this novel technology.

Mathematics plays a pivotal role in this contemporary industrial revolution: a study recently published by Nature Communications solves a problem of utmost importance for the development of 4d printing, i.e. the possibility to fabricate objects with a programmable shape over time. Professor Pasquale Ciarletta at the MOX Laboratory, Department of Mathematics, Politecnico di Milano, has provided fundamental insights into controlling the sudden nucleation of localised furrows, also known as creases, in soft solids. Continue reading “Novel mathematical approach pushes innovation in 4D printing”

Changing robot capabilities by using self-folding origami “exoskeletons” (video)

self-folding origami

Changing robot capabilities by using self-folding origami “exoskeletons”

From butterflies that sprout wings to hermit crabs that switch their shells, many animals must adapt their exterior features in order to survive. While humans don’t undergo that kind of metamorphosis, we often try to create functional objects that are similarly adaptive — including our robots.

Despite what you might have seen in “Transformers” movies, though, today’s robots are still pretty inflexible. Each of their parts usually has a fixed structure and a single defined purpose, making it difficult for them to perform a wide variety of actions.

Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) are aiming to change that with a new shape-shifting robot that’s something of a superhero: It can transform itself with different “outfits” that allow it to perform different tasks. Continue reading “Changing robot capabilities by using self-folding origami “exoskeletons” (video)”

3D Printing coupled with right materials can impact on solving real-world problems – Interview with Marc in het Panhuis, University of Wollongong

Marc in het Panhuis

3D Printing coupled with right materials can impact on solving real-world problems – Marc in het Panhuis, University of Wollongong, Australia

Marc in het Panhuis is a Professor of Materials Science in the School of Chemistry and a Chief Investigator in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science at the University of Wollongong (Australia). He will speak about 3D and 4D printing of edible and living hydrogel materials at the 4D Printing & Meta Materials Conference, on April 18, 2018, at Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Sittard-Geleen, The Netherlands.

What drives you?

Curiosity to know and understand the world around me.

What emerging technologies/trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run? Continue reading “3D Printing coupled with right materials can impact on solving real-world problems – Interview with Marc in het Panhuis, University of Wollongong”

TU Delft researchers develop new technique to combine 3D Printing & origami folding (video)

3D Printing

TU Delft researchers develop new technique to combine 3D Printing & origami folding

Researchers at TU Delft have combined origami techniques and 3D printing to create flat structures that can fold themselves into 3D structures (for example a tulip). The structures self-fold according to a pre-planned sequence, with some parts folding sooner than others. Usually, expensive printers and special materials are needed for that. But the TU Delft scientists have created a new technique that requires only a common 3D printer and ubiquitous material. Among other applications, their research has the potential to greatly improve bone implants.

In recent years, Amir Zadpoor of TU Delft has become somewhat of an origami master. His team’s work combines the traditional Japanese paper folding art with the more novel technology of 3D printing in order to create constructs that can self-roll, self-twist, self-wrinkle and self-fold into a variety of 3D structures. In 2016, the researchers already demonstrated several self-folding objects. ‘But there were still serious challenges we needed to address’, says Zadpoor. Continue reading “TU Delft researchers develop new technique to combine 3D Printing & origami folding (video)”

Expanding polymer enables self-folding without heating or immersion in water ( VIDEO)

polymer

Expanding polymer enables self-folding without heating or immersion in water

As 3-D printing has become a mainstream technology, industry and academic researchers have been investigating printable structures that will fold themselves into useful three-dimensional shapes when heated or immersed in water.

In a paper appearing in the American Chemical Society’s journal Applied Materials and Interfaces, researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and colleagues report something new: a printable structure that begins to fold itself up as soon as it’s peeled off the printing platform.

One of the big advantages of devices that self-fold without any outside stimulus, the researchers say, is that they can involve a wider range of materials and more delicate structures. Continue reading “Expanding polymer enables self-folding without heating or immersion in water ( VIDEO)”

Researchers engineer shape-shifting noodles when dunked in water (VIDEO)

shape-shifting noodles

Researchers engineer shape-shifting noodles when dunked in water

“Don’t play with your food” is a saying that MIT researchers are taking with a grain or two of salt. The team is finding ways to make the dining experience interactive and fun, with food that can transform its shape when water is added.

The researchers, from MIT’s Tangible Media Group, have concocted something akin to edible origami, in the form of flat sheets of gelatin and starch that, when submerged in water, instantly sprout into three-dimensional structures, including common pasta shapes such as macaroni and rotini.

The edible films can also be engineered to fold into the shape of a flower as well as other unconventional configurations. Playing with the films’ culinary potential, the researchers created flat discs that wrap around beads of caviar, similar to cannoli, as well as spaghetti that spontaneously divides into smaller noodles when dunked in hot broth. Continue reading “Researchers engineer shape-shifting noodles when dunked in water (VIDEO)”

4D Printing + Bioprinting = 4D Bioprinting

4D bioprinting

4D Printing + Bioprinting = 4D Bioprinting

Making and utilizing new materials to improve our life is a defining feature of mankind. We moved on from the stone age, to the bronze age, to the age of silicon and plastic. Now we are at the edge of a new episode, where technological breakthroughs allow us to create, investigate and dream of a total new range of structured forms of matter. Continue reading “4D Printing + Bioprinting = 4D Bioprinting”

The Eiffel Tower recovering its shape using 4D Printing

4D printing

The Eiffel Tower recovering its shape using 4D Printing.Unlike 3D printing, 4D printed structures have the potential to transform shape in a pre-programmed way in response to a stimulus (e.g. changes in temperature). These types of structural transformations currently exist outside of additive manufacturing, with research having already demonstrated “shape memory” and “smart material” properties. Continue reading “The Eiffel Tower recovering its shape using 4D Printing”

TU Delft researchers develop self-twisting of DNA-inspired constructs (VIDEO)

self-twisting of DNA-inspired constructs

TU Delft researchers develop self-twisting of DNA-inspired constructs. Researchers at TU Delft have made flat surfaces that are 3D printed and then ‘taught’ how to self- fold later. The materials are potentially very well suited for all kinds of medical implants. They report on their findings in the October 24th edition of Materials Horizons which features this research on its cover.

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