Today, Nature Communications published our paper “A three-dimensional actuated origami-inspired transformable metamaterial with multiple degrees of freedom” in which we introduce a new type of foldable material that is versatile, tunable and self actuated. It can change size, volume and shape.
The design can be used to make foldable and reprogrammable objects of arbitrary architecture, whose shape, volume and stiffness can be dramatically altered and continuously tuned and controlled. Importantly, the structure is completely scalable, it works from the nano- to the meter-scale and could be used to make anything from surgical stents to portable pop-up domes for disaster relief. In fact, by using various type of actuation this material can be programmed to interact with its environment in different ways as it changes its shape. If one would make a wall from this material, for example, it could be folded in different ways to manipulate sound or light. Or a roof that on a hot day autonomously opens up its microstructure to allow fresh air to come in, or closes when it starts to rain.