Materials that become "programmable"


05 June 2017

The evolution of technology and robotics is looking with interest at the science of materials and material engineering. A recent study by the Self-Assembly Lab at MIT now talks of programmable materials, and the possibility of transforming production thanks to the ability of these materials to change form and appearance.
We are in the field of material robotics, defined at MIT as robots without robots. Let's take a closer look at what this means. 
Programmable Materials consist of composite materials that are designed to become highly dynamic in form and function.  
These new materials include: self-transforming carbon fibre, printed wood grain, custom textile composites and other rubbers/plastics, which offer unprecedented capabilities including programmable actuation, sensing and self-transformation, all starting from a simple material.  
This research marks the introduction of 'smarter' materials and a significant evolution in robotics, from apparel, architecture, product design and manufacturing to aerospace and the automotive industries. The efficient production of dynamic systems, higher performing machinery and increasingly adaptive productions is now an achievable goal, thanks to progress in science and technology, including 3D and 4D printing of multi-materials and new capabilities in simulation software. This enables the complete 'programming' of a vast range of materials so that they can change shape, appearance or other property, on demand, leading to a remarkable evolution of processes. 
Source: Self-Assembly Lab MIT