Manipulating Materials, Shapes and Chemistry To Create Climate Change-Fighting Inventions

Shu Yang looks at her research through the lens of biomimicry: life forms and natural shapes have inspired her unique engineering solutions that span agriculture, building cooling and heating and reversible adhesives. For Yang, each of her innovations starts with changes on a fundamental level that can then grow into scalable and impactful products. Her … Read more

Engineered Magic: Wooden Seed Carriers Mimic the Behavior of Self-Burying Seed

How seeds implant themselves in soil can seem magical. During rain or high humidity, the corkscrew-like stalk of Erodium unwinds and twists the seed into the soil, where it can take root and is safe from hungry birds and harsh environmental conditions. Inspired by Erodium’s magic, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University collaborated with Syracuse University, … Read more

Kirigami Structures Pull Water from the Air

Climate change is forcing us to reshape our relationship with water. Collecting atmospheric water could help us adapt to both severe dry spells and inundating amounts of precipitation by providing a source of freshwater or dehumidifying humid places. The Yang lab and collaborators have created a kirigami device utilizing the geometry of simple materials to … Read more

Kirigami Breast Reconstruction

For many breast cancer patients, the road to recovery may present hidden complications related to breast reconstruction following a mastectomy. The insertion of implants can lead to implant malposition, a condition that affects a significant number of patients even years after surgery. Now, the Yang lab and collaborators have used the principles of a papercutting … Read more

Snapping metacaps propel soft robot design

When a metacap “snaps”, it pops open and closed, pushing air back and forth. This snapping allows a soft robot to propel and grip without any electronics. The new ribbed metacaps permit unprecedented levels of control and speed, enabling robots delicate enough to gently grasp a ripe strawberry and powerful enough to swim through choppy, … Read more