With heat, flat polymer folds into satellite ‘dish’

Creating satellites that could travel flat and transform themselves into a dish shape would make space exploration easier, say researchers.

Vandana Suresh-Texas A&M • futurity
Feb. 8, 2021 ~5 min

4D printing makes wrinkly, stretchy energy devices

A new method for creating stretchy supercapacitors could pave the way for more flexible and dynamic wearable devices, researchers report.

Michigan State • futurity
Dec. 29, 2020 ~6 min

Teeny robots get a speed boost from origami folding

Origami has inpsired a new kind of microbot that can fold itself. It could be useful in fields like medical equipment and infrastructure sensing.

Jim Lynch-Michigan • futurity
July 30, 2020 ~4 min

4D printing makes stuff that changes shape

"This opens the door to printing soft robotics that could swim like a jellyfish, jump like a cricket, or transport liquids like the heart."

Mike Williams-Rice • futurity
June 10, 2020 ~5 min

With a zap, tiny particles assemble into ‘test-tube gems’

With a charge, researchers got microparticles to form via self-assembly into complex crystals that mimic gemstones like opals.

Rachel Harrison-NYU • futurity
April 22, 2020 ~6 min

Algorithm for fish stripes clarifies patterns in nature

A new algorithm could help scientists better understand how zebrafish get their stripes, as well as how other patterns in nature self-assemble.

Kevin Stacey-Brown • futurity
March 2, 2020 ~5 min

Why leftover Cheerios stick together

The "Cheerio effect," a phenomenon that causes small objects to cluster on the surface of a liquid, could help design small aquatic robots, researchers say.

Kevin Stacey-Brown • futurity
Dec. 19, 2019 ~5 min

Paper art inspires robots that go from 2D to 3D

Researchers have taken inspiration from the Japanese paper art of kirigami to make robotic devices that fold themselves into new shapes with a bit of heat.

Matt Shipman-NC State • futurity
Dec. 17, 2019 ~3 min

‘Bottlebrush’ polymers bring coatings under control

Microscopic bottlebrush polymers that resemble their larger kitchen cousins could offer exquisite control over coatings, researchers say.

Mike Williams-Rice • futurity
Nov. 14, 2019 ~3 min

Scrambled frog eggs reform into cell-like structures

"If you blend a computer, you'd end up with tiny bits of computer.... But, lo and behold, the cytoplasm reorganizes."

Stanford • futurity
Nov. 11, 2019 ~5 min