Material as a Machine?

Keaton Nemes Blog Post 4

An article was recently published by ArchDaily, written by Sharon Lam, exposing the new technology known as Metamaterial. The obvious question, what is Metamaterial, is a good one to ask, however, the more relevant question is how is Metamaterial. Metamaterials are used not specifically for their material properties but also their ability to aid in tasks such as manipulating electromagnetic waves or aid in functionality. A team at Hasso Plattner Institute, has been investigating how geometry plays a roll in the elasticity of a material and the kinetic implications of such movement. In these recent studies the team has pushed the Metamaterial boundary into the physical realm and has been able to created a working door lock without any mechanisms made entirely out of one piece of plastic. By simply designing appropriate geometry that utilizes the functionality of the specific material the team has been able to use the elastic nature of the material and its designed form to allow for movement within a door handle and lock. This simple yet revolutionary idea may  have profound applications in the future, such as seismic absorption, or just simplifying standard building techniques and mechanisms. Further more the process of fabrication could be drastically simplified cutting down on time, money and resources. One thing to note however, is that a Metamaterial cannot exist without the properties of a chosen material. Therefore before a Metamaterial can be created/discovered a thorough investigation into the materials properties will be necessary which may take some time. However, despite this, materials are already in plentiful supply and many have been researched extensively. The next step will be identifying how they can be utilized to their best advantage. What is also relevant is the fact that most of these Metamaterial objects can be 3D printed, which further enhances the ease of making and using such materials.

Metamaterial in Action

Hassno Plattner Institute Metamaterial Site

Title Image:

“Metadome – An Experimental Platform for Human-metamaterial Interaction Research.” Metadome – An Experimental Platform for Human-metamaterial Interaction Research. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.

Article Image:

“Metamaterials Mechanism.” Hass0-Plattner-Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.


Lam, Sharon. “Could We Soon Be Living in a Metamaterial World?” ArchDaily. N.p., 26 Sept. 2016. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.


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