(ANSA) – MILAN, AUGUST 24 – Soft robots become like chameleons: thanks to a new 3D printing technique, they can instantly change color adapting to the background of the environment in which they find themselves. Among the possible applications, smart displays, wearable electronic devices and hi-tech camouflage, as explained by researchers from the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen (China) in a study published in Nature Communications.
The research group led by Ji Liu has developed a new multi-material 3D printing technique that allows the construction of flexible and extensible devices that emit light and that can be integrated into soft robots. In particular, ion-conduction, electroluminescent and insulating inks suitable for 3D printing were formulated, which were then used to create flexible and extensible electroluminescent devices on-demand. With this approach, the researchers created a flexible bracelet that emits blue light and integrated it into a fluffy quadrupedal robot that can quickly change its surface color to match that of the background. The 3D printed devices have been shown to maintain stable electroluminescence even under flexion, torsion and elongation. (HANDLE).