Fastener with Microscopic Mushroom Design Holds Promise

A Velcro-like fastener with a microscopic design that looks like tiny mushrooms could mean advances for everyday consumers and scientific fields. Currently available fasteners are called hook and loop fasteners and require harder, stiff material. In Biointerphases, researchers describe a design that can use softer materials and still be strong enough to work. The team believes a 3D mushroom design can be made with softer, more flexible materials and provide sufficient interlocking force on the fabric and hold strong.

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3D-Printed Smart Gel Changes Shape When Exposed to Light

Inspired by the color-changing skin of cuttlefish, octopuses and squids, Rutgers engineers have created a 3D-printed smart gel that changes shape when exposed to light, becomes “artificial muscle” and may lead to new military camouflage, soft robotics and flexible displays. The engineers also developed a 3D-printed stretchy material that can reveal colors when light changes, according to their study in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

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These flexible feet help robots walk faster

Roboticists at the University of California San Diego have developed flexible feet that can help robots walk up to 40 percent faster on uneven terrain such as pebbles and wood chips. The work has applications for search-and-rescue missions as well as space exploration.

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