Metamaterials – The Next Level of 3D Printing Technology

3D printing technology has gone to the next level when Hasso Plattner Institute’s Human Computer Interaction Lab has transformed a norm of 3D printing material which is rigid and solid into a flexible mechanism.

This transformation appears in the engineered, flexible silicone based, materials called “metamaterials” which are not only defined by their repetitive cell patterns, but also their internal microstructure. The uniqueness of metametials’s appearance and structure has led to the superior property which offers flexible mechanism and allows objects become directional controllable. Users can make the most of metamaterial mechanism from their objects.

Hasso Plattner Institute demonstrates this metamaterial mechanism through four objects; metamaterial door latch, pliers, pantograph and Jansen walker.

The metamaterial door latch shows the transformation of the rotary movement of its handle into a linear motion of the latch. Turning the handle back again causes the central hinge array to deform and to pull the latch inwards, retracting the latch – opening the door.

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Metamaterial Door Lath

For the pliers, the researchers apply metamaterial for the hinge array in the center allowing brackets and handles to move respectively, which offers users to use the metameterial pliers as best as they use the traditional-materialed pliers.

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Metamaterial Pliers
The metamaterial pantograph holds two pencils; one for user and another one for duplicating. While a user draw something through the pantograph, the metaterial mechanism allows another pencil to move along the movement of user’s hand drawing and to duplicate one.
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Metamaterial Pantograph
The metamaterial Jansen walker is composed of a single block of cells – that can walk.
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Metamaterial Jansen Walker
Unlike the rigid cell, the ability of metamaterial mechanisms which is a key element is to shear.

View how the metamaterial mechanisms work from the VDO:

Photos and VDO courtesy of Hasso Plattner Institute.

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