Easy as an inkjet, a new soft printing technique has opened the way for pixelated elastics

Princeton Engineering researchers developed an easy way to make composite elastic materials in a pixel-by-pixel method that’s as simple as an inkjet printer. Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

Borrowing a technique from inkjet printers, researchers at Princeton Engineering have rolled out a pixel-by-pixel method to program and manufacture soft structures for use in robotics, biomedical devices or architectural features.

The new technique creates pixelated sheets of soft material as easily as pressing a button. Each pixel can be programmed uniquely to create composite shapes, colors and mechanical abilities. And it works with a class of materials—curable elastic polymers—that …

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