Scientists at Harvard University presented their new development - a multifunctional metamaterial capable of solving a wide range of problems and automatically adjusting to each of them. This is possible thanks to the polyhedrons that make up the module - they are able to change their shape and volume, as well as rebuild into new configurations. Each such arrangement is aimed at performing a specific function, while the material switches from one task to another without problems. Note that the parts for the "building units" were cut out using a laser and fastened with double-sided tape.
It must be said that researchers at Harvard University are not pioneers in the creation of metamaterials. Matter has already been presented that can, for example, become soft and hard, redirect light and sound waves, and suppress seismic waves. However, each of these tasks requires its own, unique model; such metamaterials are not suitable for widespread use. And the development of Harvard is universal: to solve the task at hand, the "smart" 3D material is able to process about a million folding options and choose the best one. At the same time, the algorithm of its operation does not depend on the scale of objects: the invention can be applied with equal success in architectural structures and in nanoscale structures such as photonic crystals and radio waveguides.
In further work on the project, the authors plan to use the achievements of 3D printing and create eco-friendly prototypes. Harvard scientists believe that their invention will find application in the work of architects and designers, design engineers and specialists in the field of aircraft and rocketry, materials scientists, physicists, robotics, biomedical engineers.