Photo courtesy of UCLA Samueli School of Engineering

A group of UCLA engineers, led by associate professor Xiaoyu (Rayne) Zheng, developed a new process that uses 3D printing to engineer robots in one step. The resulting metamaterials, or active materials with multiple functions, are then put together to create a “meta-bot.” 

These “meta-bots” only need a small battery to move, making these robots suitable for biomedical applications. They will also be able to explore hazardous environments, and can be used to assess threat levels and help rescue efforts, among many others. 

According to Zheng, “We envision that this design and printing methodology of smart robotic materials will help realize a class of autonomous materials that could replace the current complex assembly process for making a robot.” 

The study was published recently in the leading scientific journal, Science.

Link to the full feature on the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering website:

Link to the article on the scientific journal, Science: