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Posted by: thepinetree on 06/14/2018 08:44 AM Updated by: thepinetree on 06/14/2018 08:44 AM
Expires: 01/01/2023 12:00 AM
:

Magnetic 3-D-Printed Structures Crawl, Roll, Jump, and Play Catch, Technique Could be used for Remotely Controlled Biomedical Devices.

Cambridge, MA...MIT engineers have created soft, 3-D-printed structures whose movements can be controlled with a wave of a magnet, much like marionettes without the strings. The menagerie of structures that can be magnetically manipulated includes a smooth ring that wrinkles up, a long tube that squeezes shut, a sheet that folds itself, and a spider-like “grabber” that can crawl, roll, jump, and snap together fast enough to catch a passing ball. It can even be directed to wrap itself around a small pill and carry it across a table.


From left to right: Yoonho Kim, Xuanhe Zhao, Hyunwoo Yuk Photo: Melanie Gonick/MIT





The researchers fabricated each structure from a new type of 3-D-printable ink that they infused with tiny magnetic particles. They fitted an electromagnet around the nozzle of a 3-D printer, which caused the magnetic particles to swing into a single orientation as the ink was fed through the nozzle. By controlling the magnetic orientation of individual sections in the structure, the researchers can produce structures and devices that can almost instantaneously shift into intricate formations, and even move about, as the various sections respond to an external magnetic field.


Xuanhe Zhao, the Noyce Career Development Professor in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, says the group’s technique may be used to fabricate magnetically controlled biomedical devices.

“We think in biomedicine this technique will find promising applications,” Zhao says. “For example, we could put a structure around a blood vessel to control the pumping of blood, or use a magnet to guide a device through the GI tract to take images, extract tissue samples, clear a blockage, or deliver certain drugs to a specific location. You can design, simulate, and then just print to achieve various functions.”

Zhao and his colleagues have published their results today in the journal Nature. His co-authors include Yoonho Kim, Hyunwoo Yuk, and Ruike Zhao of MIT, and Shawn Chester of the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

A shifting field

The team’s magnetically activated structures fall under the general category of soft actuated devices — squishy, moldable materials that are designed to shape-shift or move about through a variety of mechanical means. For instance, hydrogel devices swell when temperature or pH changes; shape-memory polymers and liquid crystal elastomers deform with sufficient stimuli such as heat or light; pneumatic and hydraulic devices can be actuated by air or water pumped into them; and dielectric elastomers stretch under electric voltages.

But hydrogels, shape-memory polymers, and liquid crystal elastomers are slow to respond, and change shape over the course of minutes to hours. Air- and water-driven devices require tubes that connect them to pumps, making them inefficient for remotely controlled applications. Dielectric elastomers require high voltages, usually above a thousand volts.

“There is no ideal candidate for a soft robot that can perform in an enclosed space like a human body, where you’d want to carry out certain tasks untethered,” Kim says. “That’s why we think there’s great promise in this idea of magnetic actuation, because it is fast, forceful, body-benign, and can be remotely controlled.”

Other groups have fabricated magnetically activated materials, though the movements they have achieved have been relatively simple. For the most part, researchers mix a polymer solution with magnetic beads, and pour the mixture into a mold. Once the material cures, they apply a magnetic field to uniformly magnetize the beads, before removing the structure from the mold.

“People have only made structures that elongate, shrink, or bend,” Yuk says. “The challenge is, how do you design a structure or robot that can perform much more complicated tasks?”

Domain game

Instead of making structures with magnetic particles of the same, uniform orientation, the team looked for ways to create magnetic “domains” — individual sections of a structure, each with a distinct orientation of magnetic particles. When exposed to an external magnetic field, each section should move in a distinct way, depending on the direction its particles move in response to the magnetic field. In this way, the group surmised that structures should carry out more complex articulations and movements.

With their new 3-D-printing platform, the researchers can print sections, or domains, of a structure, and tune the orientation of magnetic particles in a particular domain by changing the direction of the electromagnet encircling the printer’s nozzle, as the domain is printed.

The team also developed a physical model that predicts how a printed structure will deform under a magnetic field. Given the elasticity of the printed material, the pattern of domains in a structure, and the way in which an external magnetic field is applied, the model can predict the way an overall structure will deform or move. Ruike found that the model’s predictions closely matched with experiments the team carried out with a number of different printed structures.

In addition to a rippling ring, a self-squeezing tube, and a spider-like grabber, the team printed other complex structures, such as a set of “auxetic” structures that rapidly shrink or expand along two directions. Zhao and his colleagues also printed a ring embedded with electrical circuits and red and green LED lights. Depending on the orientation of an external magnetic field, the ring deforms to light up either red or green, in a programmed manner.

“We have developed a printing platform and a predictive model for others to use. People can design their own structures and domain patterns, validate them with the model, and print them to actuate various functions,” Zhao says. “By programming complex information of structure, domain, and magnetic field, one can even print intelligent machines such as robots.”

Jerry Qi, professor of mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech, says the group’s design can enable a range of fast, remotely controlled soft robotics, particularly in the biomedical field.

“This work is very novel,” says Qi, who was not involved in the research. “One could use a soft robot inside a human body or somewhere that is not easily accessible. With this technology reported in this paper, one can apply a magnetic field outside the human body, without using any wiring. Because of its fast responsive speed, the soft robot can fulfill many actions in a short time. These are important for practical applications.”

This research was supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, and the MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies.

Source Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office


Comments - Make a comment
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No Subject
Posted on: 2018-06-14 09:34:22   By: Anonymous
 
Any one else envision these implants in humans as being the next soldiers on the battlefield, particularly after Qi's comments.

[Reply ]

    Re:
    Posted on: 2018-06-14 10:10:38   By: Anonymous
     
    WoW! Digital Origami!

    [Reply ]

      Re:
      Posted on: 2018-06-14 10:16:46   By: Anonymous
       
      Clide Clap like to lick peeled bananas.

      [Reply ]

    Re:
    Posted on: 2018-06-14 15:45:44   By: Anonymous
     
    Robotic applications are great, but think about applying this technology to prosthetic limbs, hands or feet for amputees.

    [Reply ]

      Re:
      Posted on: 2018-06-14 17:10:39   By: Anonymous
       
      Basically what Qi was inferring in his closing remarks. New technology that has amazing potential for those with limited use of their body.

      [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2018-06-14 09:35:47   By: Anonymous
 
I'm gong to come off as racist to some, I'm sure, but my husband and father before him are MIT grads. I cannot but help notice how the complexion of the advanced engineering students has changed but also applaud the Asian people for understanding the value of commitment to one's education.

[Reply ]

    Re:
    Posted on: 2018-06-14 10:14:05   By: Anonymous
     
    Yeah, you notice three men's race.
    Unfortunately, you try to back that up with how Asians place an importance on education.
    It does sound racist.

    [Reply ]

      Re:
      Posted on: 2018-06-14 10:23:32   By: Anonymous
       
      No, it's YOU that's the racist for even bringing it up, go back to bed Hitler!

      [Reply ]

        Re: racist?
        Posted on: 2018-06-14 10:34:57   By: Anonymous
         
        So let me get this straight, since I only got a California education.
        I point out that your comment sounds racist, and that makes me the racist.
        Have one of your MIT educated relatives explain how stupid that is.

        [Reply ]

          Re: racist?
          Posted on: 2018-06-14 12:19:52   By: Anonymous
           
          Census data shows Asians have highest levels of education, lowest levels of unemployment and some Ivy League are limiting the number of Asians to preserve spots for those of us of (lessor races) So yes I guess it is racist in that I wish my parents were Asians

          [Reply ]

            Re: racist?
            Posted on: 2018-06-14 12:29:59   By: Anonymous
             
            My Parents are Napa cabbage.

            [Reply ]

            Re: racist?
            Posted on: 2018-06-14 12:49:35   By: Anonymous
             
            Wee To Lo

            [Reply ]

            Re: racist?
            Posted on: 2018-06-14 12:50:17   By: Anonymous
             
            What else do them zipperheads have to do but study?

            [Reply ]

              Re: racist?
              Posted on: 2018-06-14 12:53:18   By: Anonymous
               
              make good boom-boom.

              [Reply ]

              Re: racist?
              Posted on: 2018-06-14 15:01:01   By: Anonymous
               
              What do you and yours do with your days?

              [Reply ]

                Re: racist?
                Posted on: 2018-06-14 20:00:14   By: Anonymous
                 
                make good boom-boom.

                [Reply ]

          Re: racist?
          Posted on: 2018-06-14 16:12:46   By: Anonymous
           
          Well, that wasn't me the original poster but happy that at least someone else can see the comment is simply about how much the world is changing.

          [Reply ]

            Re: racist?
            Posted on: 2018-06-16 02:15:51   By: Anonymous
             
            a California education is the MOST racist kind one can have.

            [Reply ]

      Re:
      Posted on: 2018-06-14 14:59:57   By: Anonymous
       
      Just an observation and an obvious one at that.

      [Reply ]

      Re:
      Posted on: 2018-06-14 16:11:42   By: Anonymous
       
      Noticing three men's faces might make her sexist but certainly not racist. You're nitpicking. To comment on how a particular culture is doing a great job is hardly racist. And if I may add. Those who know and live in around Cambridge, Mass and greater Boston understand the area is pretty much color-blind and diverse. Your commentary stems from your own limited view.

      [Reply ]

        Re:
        Posted on: 2018-06-16 23:29:23   By: Anonymous
         
        That's racist to even bring it up.

        [Reply ]

    Re:
    Posted on: 2018-06-14 13:49:59   By: Anonymous
     
    So after reading the latest posts, do you think your comments seem racist to some?
    MIT educated should be able to figure that out?
    By the way, Einstein disliked Chinese also.

    [Reply ]

      Re:
      Posted on: 2018-06-14 14:58:40   By: Anonymous
       
      Only pointing out how much things have changed in the past couple of decades AND applauding those who study and work hard at their educational goals.

      [Reply ]

      Re:
      Posted on: 2018-06-14 16:17:04   By: Anonymous
       
      My mom went to Harvard and would have been one of a handful in her class in the 40s. We can look at old yearbooks and see how male and white it all was. This poster is commenting on how the faces of the current MIT students have changed as well. Not racist, not sexist but a commentary on changing times. I would also agree with her as someone who has taught in the south Bay and back east, Asian parents (Chinese, Indian and more) understand more than anything one's ticket to bettering their children's lives and those who come after is a quality education. That's really all that has to be said. If you have a problem with that comment or think it's somehow racist, I would suggest it reflects your own limited world view and bias.

      [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2018-06-14 12:30:43   By: Anonymous
 
Hillary's panty liners.

[Reply ]

    Re:
    Posted on: 2018-06-14 12:54:13   By: Anonymous
     
    Some real crotch critters.

    [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2018-06-14 13:01:43   By: Anonymous
 
Study?? That's racist.


[Reply ]

So talented!
Posted on: 2018-06-14 14:04:04   By: Anonymous
 
Brilliant! Thank you for this invention, we will see the applications for it soon.

[Reply ]

    Re: So talented!
    Posted on: 2018-06-14 21:54:43   By: Anonymous
     
    Etch-A-Sketches for everyone, yeah. How many people does it take to screw in a light bulb. Who is blowing smoke up these guys. Magnets will solve the world. Sharper than marbles I tell ya


    [Reply ]

      Re: So talented!
      Posted on: 2018-06-14 21:56:57   By: Anonymous
       
      I'll get one when they can get the toilet paper for me and give me a good wipe. Then I can read the whole article.

      [Reply ]

        Re: So talented!
        Posted on: 2018-06-14 22:07:38   By: Anonymous
         
        I want a giant one so it can pick my lazy azz up and take me anywhere I want to go. Like to the store and such. Add a bunch together and it could really be used as a real tiny house. You could even train it to do anything your want. Even type for me too. Man I think they are on to something really really big. Maybe submarines that look like tenacles. May even magnet space travel......and then when the man shows up at your door you could use it to transform you into a chair or something. Do they have them in the markets yet.

        [Reply ]

          Re: So talented!
          Posted on: 2018-06-16 23:30:42   By: Anonymous
           
          I like their ties.

          [Reply ]


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