Graduate students at MIT have successfully utilized 3D printing to fabricate a material that changes its surface texture upon squeezing. From a smooth state to a bumpy one in one squeeze, there is no doubt that this material is becoming a game-changer in the world of material technology. The material is comprised of two different polymers, one more ridged than the other, that changes orientation inside of the base polymer it is suspended in to create bumps when squeezed. When released, the material assumes its original, smooth form.
The arrangement of the harder polymers in this material can create a vast array of textures, which opens this material up for a myriad of practical applications. An article from the MIT news office cites use in optics as a likely platform for this material, but I also believe that a technological leap such as this one could prove highly beneficial for people in various situations; whether it is helping a person regain sensory connections or changing the look and feel of a playground for children into a dynamic space. This material is a fantastic example of a desire for humans to innovate in a way that combines the unlike to form a new experience, and I believe that the future of this material will be highly useful and interesting.