3D Printing

BMW and MIT create the first 3D-printed inflatable material

BMW and MIT create the first 3...
Liquid-printed pneumatics could allow the car of the future to sport morphing interiors with tunable shape and stiffness
Liquid-printed pneumatics could allow the car of the future to sport morphing interiors with tunable shape and stiffness
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The material could supplant complex electromechanical alternatives
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The material could supplant complex electromechanical alternatives
The material is the culmination of a 2-year collaboration between MIT and BMW
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The material is the culmination of a 2-year collaboration between MIT and BMW
The printed material contains several independent chambers
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The printed material contains several independent chambers
Liquid-printed pneumatics could allow the car of the future to sport morphing interiors with tunable shape and stiffness
4/4
Liquid-printed pneumatics could allow the car of the future to sport morphing interiors with tunable shape and stiffness

A collaboration between BMW and MIT's Self-Assembly Laboratory has produced a 3D-printed inflatable material that can change its shape and stiffness on command. It could be used in designing highly customizable and multifunctional car interiors.

Ifthe car of the future really is autonomous, then we may be about towitness a radical shift in the form and function of their interiors. Without theneed for wheels, pedals and front-facing seats, we could be headingtoward seats and compartments that morph into different shapes tomeet different needs at the touch of a button.

Aftera two-year collaboration, BMW and MIT haverecently presented a new printed inflatable material that might justdo the trick. It combines technologies like rapid liquid printing and soft robotics to create objectsakin to printable balloons that can change their shape and stiffnessin a matter of seconds.

Buildinginflatable materials of this kind would previously require complexelectromechanical devices or advanced moulding techniques, but these"liquid-printed pneumatics" can be manufactured by simple 3Dprinting in silicone.

The printed material contains several independent chambers
The printed material contains several independent chambers

Accordingto the researchers, the sample inflatable objects pictured above canbe customized to any size or shape by manipulating air pressure inany one of their seven independent chambers.

"Thereis no need to lock the car of the future into any particular shape.Interiors could even take on malleable, modular uses," saysMartina Starke, head of BMW Brand Vision. "Thisadaptive material technology points towards a future of transformablesurfaces for adaptive human comfort, cushioning and impactperformance."

Thematerial is on display at the exhibition The Future Starts Here in London.

Source:BMW

1 comment
paul314
Perfect fit for your seats? Of course, if you blow a gasket mid-drive the whole car ends up a floppy mess...