Tech Briefs Magazine - February 2022 - 23

capacitive sensing, those changes can be
measured and used to calculate the magnitude
and direction of the applied
forces, as well as rotation and acceleration.
By understanding how joystick
users apply forces, a designer could prototype
unique handle shapes and sizes
for people with limited grip strength in
certain directions.
The new method integrates sensing capabilities into 3D-printable structures comprised of repetitive
cells, which enables designers to rapidly prototype interactive input devices.
(Photo: Courtesy of the researchers)
and two walls made from nonconductive
filament. The conductive walls function
as electrodes.
When a user applies force to the metamaterial
mechanism - moving a joystick
handle or pressing the buttons on a
controller - the conductive shear cells
stretch or compress and the distance
and overlapping
area
between
the
opposing electrodes changes. Using
A designer could quickly create and
tweak unique, flexible input devices for
a computer, like a squeezable volume
controller or bendable stylus. Meta -
Sense, the 3D editor the researchers
developed, enables this rapid prototyping.
Users can manually integrate sensing
into a metamaterial design or let the
software automatically place the conductive
shear cells in optimal locations.
The tool simulates how the object will
be deformed when different forces are
applied and then uses this simulated
deformation to calculate which cells
have the maximum distance change.
The cells that change the most are the
optimal candidates
to be conductive
shear cells.
For more information, contact Abby
Abazorius at abbya@mit.edu; 617-253-2709.
Tech Briefs, February 2022
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Tech Briefs Magazine - February 2022

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