This research in progress by Lynn Kieffer and Paul Nicholas investigates a design and fabrication method of an adaptable and programmable composite material in an embodied computation system. It develops a workflow for a behavior-based model, the exploration of the morphospace associated with the combinatorial assembly and the actuation of soft elements. The aggregation of individually actuatable and soft units in a system creates a large potential regarding adaptability, flexibility and reconfigurability, through a non-rigid and non-mechanical system.
The cells are developed through a process of prototyping on origami and auxetic pattern inspired soft robotic elements. Every soft cell is pneumatically actuated through a negative pressure environment. The computational simulation is informed by the prototyping process and its findings. The simulation-based design of such an assembled system allows prediction of the aggregated shape and outputs a sequencing table, describing the actuation status of every cell and can create a tool to communicate between material and computational system.