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3D-printed smart gels change shape when exposed to light

wallpapers Industry 2021-01-18
Inspired by the discolored skin of squid, octopus and squid, engineers at Rutgers University have created a 3D printed smart gel that changes shape when exposed to light, becoming an "artificial muscle" and may lead to new Military camouflage, soft robots and flexible displays.
 
The skin of this octopus has discolored cells called pigment cells, a phenomenon that inspired Rutgers University engineers.
 
Based on their research in the Journal of the American Chemical Society Applied Materials and Interface, the engineers also developed a 3D printed elastic material that can display colors when the light changes. Their intention is to imitate the amazing ability of cephalopods such as squid, octopus and squid to change the color and texture of their soft skin for camouflage and communication. This is achieved by thousands of color-changing cells in the skin, which are called pigment cells.
 
"Electronic displays are ubiquitous, and despite significant advancements, such as becoming thinner, larger, and brighter, they are based on rigid materials, limiting the shapes they can take and their interface with 3D surfaces," The senior said that the author Haun Lee is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in the School of Engineering at Rutgers University. "Our research supports a new engineering method that features camouflage patterns that can be added to soft materials to create flexible and colorful displays."
 
Engineers at Rutgers University have developed a 3D printable hydrogel or smart gel that can sense light and change its shape accordingly. Hy hydrogels, although they contain water, can retain their shape and remain solid, and can be found in many examples such as the human body, jelly, diapers, and contact lenses. Engineers added a photosensitive nanomaterial to the hydrogel, turning it into an "artificial muscle" that can contract with changes in light. The combination of photosensitive smart gel and 3D printed elastic material can change the color to produce a camouflage effect. The next steps include improving the sensitivity, response time, scalability, packaging and durability of the technology.

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