Shape-Shifting Structured Lattices

October 2, 2019
printed face
To showcase how the method creates a complex surface with multiscale curvature, the researchers printed the face of the 19th-century mathematician who laid the foundations of differential geometry: Carl Friederich Gauss.

What would it take to transform a flat sheet into a human face? How would the sheet need to grow and shrink to form eyes that are concave, a nose that’s convex, and a chin that protrudes? 

How to encode and release complex curves in shape-shifting structures is at the center of research led by the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Harvard Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering. 

Over the past decade, theorists and experimentalists have found inspiration in nature as they sought to unravel the physics, build mathematical frameworks, and develop materials and 3D- and 4D-printing techniques for structures that can change shape in response to external stimuli. 

However, complex multiscale curvature has remained out of reach. 

Now, researchers have created the most complex shape-shifting structures to date — lattices composed of multiple materials that grow or shrink in response to changes in temperature...

Continue reading "The Shape-Shifting of Things to Comeg" by Leah Burrows, The Harvard Gazette, October 2, 2019.

Also read J.W. Boley, W.M. van Rees, C. Lissandrello, M.N. Horenstein, R.L. Truby, A. Kotikian, J.A. Lewis, and L. Mahadevan, "Shape-shifting structured lattices via multimaterial 4D printing," PNAS (Oct 2, 2019)