Lacan

Morphing surfaces made of slidable rods for tubular biomedical devices and for soft robotics is a research project from the Mathematical and Computational Modeling group, led by Dr. Marino Arroyo

Lacan

Morphing surfaces made of slidable rods for tubular biomedical devices and for soft robotics is a research project from the Mathematical and Computational Modeling group, led by Dr. Marino Arroyo
Institution: UPC
Research group: Mathematical and Computational Modeling (LaCàN)
Principal investigator: Marino Arroyo

The Problem

Shape Morphing technologies currently rely on the straining of the underlying material (e.g. rubber in a pneunet), which is inherently limited, or on rotations of structural elements (as in pantographs, origami or kirigami), which lead to “locking” of the morphing mechanism. Thus, the morphing capacity is limited. Furthermore, morphing systems are not versatile, e.g. catheters have distinct sections where they can bend or thicken. A key challenge in this field is a balance between deformability and controllability.
The technology relies on the mechanical concept that by assembling surfaces made out of slidable rods, such surfaces can achieve extreme morphing by sliding the rods non-uniformly. The physical realization of such meta-material is very easy since it only needs a collection of rods with suitable inter-locking geometry made out of any elastic material. As such, this technology is scale-free. There are prototypes built by 3D printing, ranging from rods with sub-micron features (two-photon lithography) to rods with centimeter features (filament 3D printing). The morphing capability and mechanics of these prototypes have been tested and the mathematical theory has confirmed, which thus provides a solid conceptual foundation to engineer devices based on this technology.

The Solution

The Solution

The technology relies on the mechanical concept that by assembling surfaces made out of slidable rods, such surfaces can achieve extreme morphing by sliding the rods non-uniformly. The physical realization of such meta-material is very easy since it only needs a collection of rods with suitable inter-locking geometry made out of any elastic material. As such, this technology is scale-free. There are prototypes built by 3D printing, ranging from rods with sub-micron features (two-photon lithography) to rods with centimeter features (filament 3D printing). The morphing capability and mechanics of these prototypes have been tested and the mathematical theory has confirmed, which thus provides a solid conceptual foundation to engineer devices based on this technology.

Purpose

A complete mathematical theory has developed to understand this new principle of morphing and to predict the mechanical properties of the meta-material surfaces.
Time to market: 10 years
Looking for: Companies that could be interested in the technology and guide the commercialization actions
Technology: 3D Bioprinting, Robotics
Area: Disease Management & Therapeutics, R&D
TRL: 2