Project

Digitally Reconfigurable Surface

None

Groups

The digitally reconfigurable surface is a pin matrix apparatus for directly creating rigid 3D surfaces from a computer-aided design (CAD) input. A digital design is uploaded into the device, and a grid of thousands of tiny pins, much like the popular pin-art toy, are actuated to form the desired surface. A rubber sheet is held by vacuum pressure onto the tops of the pins to smooth out the surface they form; this strong surface can then be used for industrial forming operations, simple resin casting, and many other applications. The novel phase-changing electronic clutch array allows the device to have independent position control over thousands of discrete pins with only a single motorized "push plate," lowering the complexity and manufacturing cost of this type of device. Research is ongoing into new actuation techniques to further lower the cost and increase the surface resolution of this technology.

The digitally reconfigurable surface is a pin matrix apparatus for directly creating rigid 3D surfaces from a computer-aided design (CAD) input. A digital design is uploaded into the device, and a grid of thousands of tiny pins, much like the popular pin-art toy, are actuated to form the desired surface. A rubber sheet is held by vacuum pressure onto the tops of the pins to smooth out the surface they form; this strong surface can then be used for industrial forming operations, simple resin casting, and many other applications. The novel phase-changing electronic clutch array allows the device to have independent position control over thousands of discrete pins with only a single motorized "push plate," lowering the complexity and manufacturing cost of this type of device. Research is ongoing into new actuation techniques to further lower the cost and increase the surface resolution of this technology.

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