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The Reverse Engineering of Shaping Creatures

Complex shapes are created by the nature following easy growth rules. Following this process, all things that we see around us are shaped, even our face are shaped that give us a particular identity. A new research has come up with the idea to develop any specific shape from its initial shape. It is the process to unlock the nature’s methodology of shape creation. The idea have come by studying the naturally morphing structures such as Venus flytraps, pine cones and flowers, who change their shape in case of need and emergency. There were many challenges like if we have to end with a specific shape, how to design the initial structure.

Being inspired by the growth of leaves, the researchers developed a theory for how to pattern the growth orientations and magnitudes of two distinct layers of elastic materials glued together that respond differently to the same source. The overall shape and size of the bilayer can be fully maintained by programming one layer to swell more than the other and/or in a different direction. In this process the bilayer can be of any material, in any shape, and respond to any stimuli like heat to light, swelling, or even biological growth of the bilayer. This reverse engineering paves the way for advance 4-D printing of shape-shifting optical and mechanical elements, soft robotics and tissue engineering. The scientists are very optimistic about its upcoming result.

By: Anita Aishvarya


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