Bioinspired soft machines made of highly deformable materials are enabling a variety of innovative applications, yet their locomotion typically requires several actuators that are independently activated. We harnessed kirigami principles to significantly enhance the crawling capability of a soft actuator. We designed highly stretchable kirigami surfaces in which mechanical instabilities induce a transformation from flat sheets to 3D-textured surfaces akin to the scaled skin of snakes. First, we showed that this transformation was accompanied by a dramatic change in the frictional properties of the surfaces. Then, we demonstrated that, when wrapped around an extending soft actuator, the buckling-induced directional frictional properties of these surfaces enabled the system to efficiently crawl.
I am a SNSF postdoctoral researcher in Bertoldi group at Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. I am working in the general area of mechanics of materials with a focus on designer matter to create new architected materials with novel functionalities. In my research, I get inspirations from natural and biological systems, origami, kirigami and architecture.
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