Watch Video of the assembly of the microstructures

Reconfigurable materials can do amazing things. Flat sheets transform into a face. An extruded cube transforms into dozens of different shapes. But there’s one thing a reconfigurable material has yet to be able to change: its underlying topology. A reconfigurable material with 100 cells will always have 100 cells, even if those cells are stretched or squashed. Now, researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a method to change a cellular material’s fundamental topology at the microscale. The research is published in Nature.

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