Inverse Design of Inflatable Soft Membranes Through Machine Learning

Using machine learning, new platform can program the transformation of 2D stretchable surfaces into specific 3D shapes.


“Across fields of science, researchers have increasingly focused on designing soft devices that can shape-morph to achieve functionality. However, identifying a rest shape that leads to a target 3D shape upon actuation is a non-trivial task that involves inverse design capabilities. In this study, a simple and efficient platform is presented to design pre-programmed 3D shapes starting from 2D planar composite membranes. By training neural networks with a small set of finite element simulations, the authors are able to obtain both the optimal design for a pixelated 2D elastomeric membrane and the inflation pressure required for it to morph into a target shape. The proposed method has potential to be employed at multiple scales and for different applications. As an example, it is shown how these inversely designed membranes can be used for mechanotherapy applications, by stimulating certain areas while avoiding prescribed locations.”

Find the open access technical paper here and Harvard’s article here.

Antonio Elia Forte,* Paul Z. Hanakata, Lishuai Jin, Emilia Zari, Ahmad Zareei, Matheus C. Fernandes, Laura Sumner, Jonathan Alvarez, and Katia Bertoldi*

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