Engineers 3-D print smart objects with embodied logic

Tech Xplore | January 15, 2019

Even without a brain or a nervous system, the Venus flytrap appears to make sophisticated decisions about when to snap shut on potential prey, as well as to open when it has accidentally caught something it can't eat.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Engineering and Applied Science have taken inspiration from these sorts of systems. Using stimuli-responsive materials and geometric principles, they have designed structures that have embodied logic. Through their physical and chemical makeup alone, they are able to determine which of multiple possible responses to make in response to their environment.
Despite having no motors, batteries, circuits or processors of any kind, they can switch between multiple configurations in response to pre-determined environmental cues, such as humidity or oil-based chemicals.

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