Synthetic hair can be programmed to turn mechanical movements into electrical signals

The accuracy of 3D printers is constantly improving, but when we hear about breakthroughs in this area it’s usually related to larger objects. The Tangible Media Group at MIT’s Media Lab envisioned a future where a material's physical properties can be encoded and decoded directly by users, allowing to make and customize interactive objects as needed. The team produced Cilllia, a synthetic hair structure as thin as 50 microns in diameter, which can be programmed to become adhesive or act as sensors and actuators.

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