Eindhoven – New customisable materials offer a glimpse of a transformative future.
Despite the fact that engineers and designers have long carried out a broad range of research into shape-shifting materials, they are still far from reaching mainstream use. The designers of re:flex are aiming to speed up that process and have developed a shape memory composite that can change its form through heat. Manufactured more cheaply than any of its predecessors, re:flex can be implemented on a large scale and be easily transformed at low temperatures.
One of the key ideas behind re:flex is to allow materials and objects to be highly customisable to suit users’ needs. While still in development, the designers see it being implemented in transport, architecture, product design and healthcare. These kinds of smart materials offer the possibility of truly responsive products and interactive environments.
Read more about self-assembling materials in our Programmable Realities macrotrend. For more on how smart materials will configure and change shape when confronted with a change in environment, also read our Skylar Tibbits Viewpoint.