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Engineers Create Single-Step 3D Printing Method to Make Robotic Materials

By UCLA Samueli School of Engineering

June 17, 2022

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University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) engineers and colleagues designed a one-step three-dimensional (3D) printing process for manufacturing robots.

Critical to the all-in-one approach is the design and printing of piezoelectric metamaterials, which can change shape and move in response to an electric field, or generate electricity in response to physical forces.

The researchers developed the metamaterials to bend, flex, twist, rotate, expand, or contract rapidly.

They constitute an internal network of sensory, moving, and structural components that can move in response to programmed commands.

UCLA’s Huachen Cui said the two-way piezoelectric effect permits the robots to “detect obstacles via echoes and ultrasound emissions, as well as respond to external stimuli through a feedback control loop that determines how the robots move, how fast they move, and toward which target they move.”

From UCLA Samueli School of Engineering
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