Programming Material Intelligence

Mechanisms for Shape-Changing 3D-Printed Bio-Hybrid Components


“Programmable matter” is a popular vocabulary in this context in recent years. The concept originated in the early 1990s, mainly referring to a programmatically changing physical properties based on user input or auto sensing ( Such as: shape, density, optical properties) substances. The special autonomous deformation ability, function and data sharing ability of this material open a new door for the future development of materials science, and also bring human exploration of new “super” materials.

Compared to traditional large-scale digital construction attempts, this work camp is more like an experimental material perspective. Dylan Wood and Tiffany Cheng, researchers from the ICD Programmable Materials and Materials Group, led students continually exploring the physical behavioral characteristics of composites under different driving and constraining factors, and summarizing the digital design adapted to the properties of the material. Methods and workflows, and using the latest 3D printing technology to create a digital construction strategy suitable for this material structure.


Group member, Coding, 3D Printing


Tongji University


Rhino, Grasshopper, Python,  Universal Robots


1 week

Material study
3D printing study
Printing & Fabrication
Final presentation

Material Study

focus on how different pattern may change the morphing performance of material

First of all, we tried out different patterns and how those are supposed to change the way our printed material may change their shapes under different temperature and moixture.

3D Printing Study

printing with universial robotics

UR robot arms are used to produce pattern that we want. The wood actuators are put inside during printing, and our algorithms are written to take that into consideration and fix the actuators onto the material.

Printing & Fabrication

Pre-fabrication with 3d printing

The whole material is printed with several steps as are shown below.

Final Presentation