You may not require exotic manufacturing methods to create custom-made objects. If scientists at Harvard have their way, you might begin with little more than math and a sheet. They have generated a math structure that borrows from kirigami (the Japanese papercraft technique that employs tactical cuts to create art) to convert any sheet into any shape. Efficiently, it comprises designing backwards—the desired shape is the final part of the procedure.
The team began by establishing the limitations on angles and lengths that require to be met for creating any specific cut pattern, and then employing a numerical optimization method to decide the generic patterns themselves (such as their number, orientation, and size). From here, it is a matter of employing mechanical examination to control the set up path and its stability. The researchers created 3D and 2D models to clarify that the technique worked.
The outcome is pretty but it can also be extremely practical once put into employment. You can create vehicle surfaces, clothes, or other objects with the help of just a sheet. This would not always work owing to the nature of kirigami, but it is also just the starting. The Harvard team expects to merge the technique with origami, permitting even more complex objects that might only require the correct algorithm to come to life.
On a related note, earlier researchers at Harvard and MIT CSAIL have designed origami-akin artificial muscles that add much-required strength to soft robots, permitting them to lift objects almost 1,000 times their own weight with the help of only air or water pressure. A 2.6-gram muscle is capable to lifting a 3 Kg object, which is the same as a duck picking up a car. The artificial muscles are composed up of a plastic interior skeleton surrounded by water or air within a sealed bag.
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