Researchers at the Hasso-Plattner-Institute in Potsdam, Germany are exploring how 3D cell patterns called metamaterials can take on not-seen-in-nature properties based on their shape, geometry, size, orientation, and arrangement. The result: Metamaterial Mechanisms. These 3D printed objects work like small machines as they’re pushed, pulled, and squeezed. The internal mechanics are driven by different kinds of gridded microstructures, creating both hard and soft sections that move in different ways:
Our metamaterial door latch, for example, transforms the rotary movement of its handle into a linear motion of the latch. We demonstrate pliers from metamaterial with one hinge array in the center which makes the brackets and the handles move with respect to each other. We implement a pantograph by chaining multiple metamaterial four-bars. The pantograph holds two pencils. While one pencil is moved by the user to draw, the second pencil moves along and replicates the user’s drawing. Our metamaterial Jansen walker consists of a single block of cells—that can walk.
The key element behind our metamaterial mechanisms is a specialized type of cell, the only ability of which is to shear. Unlike the rigid cell, this shear cell is designed to deform when a force is applied, more specifically to shear, which allows for controlled directional movement.
As demonstrated in the video above, the structures were created in a Tinkercad-like 3D editing software concept, allowing engineers to design the cell patterns based on functional needs.Core77.