Bizarre shape-shifting material invented by Harvard

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Bizarre shape-shifting material invented by Harvard

Bizarre shape-shifting material invented by Harvard

A new wonder material invented by Harvard University can change shape, be stiff or flexible, and fold away completely

It is the ultimate dream for campers. A lightweight, flat-pack home which pops into perfect alignment after being plucked from a backpack.

Now engineers at Harvard University have invented a material which could make it possible.

The material is made from tiny cubes which can fold down flat or pop-up to create stiff, three dimensional walls. And the structure can change depending on what it is needed for.

For campers it could mean adding room dividers where necessary or doubling up on wall thickness if it was cold or windy. It could also allow windows to appear at the touch of a button, as the cubes fold back to allow in light.

The material is so ingenious it can fold flat to withstand the weight of an elephant without breaking, and pop right back up to prepare for the next task.

“We’ve designed a three-dimensional, thin-walled structure that can be used to make foldable and reprogrammable objects of arbitrary architecture, whose shape, volume and stiffness can be dramatically altered and continuously tuned and controlled,” said Harvard graduate student Johannes Overvelde. […]

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