A New Material Could Make Medical Devices That Expand and Collapse

img_4435.jpg__800x450_q85_crop_upscaleJohannes Overvelde was pursuing a PhD in applied mathematics at Harvard University when he met Chuck Hoberman, designer of the Hoberman Sphere, a collapsible rainbow ball for kids. Both lived in Cambridge and had similar interests. Overvelde was working on developing transformable materials that could change stiffness, and Hoberman, an architect who also studies kinetic structures, had been thinking about how different materials could take on the properties of his sphere, changing form by articulating at different joints.

Borrowing bits from the Hoberman Sphere and the origami-based concept of snapology, where interlocking strips of paper snap together to create rigid structures, Overvelde and his team at Harvard have created what they call a metamaterial: an expandable structure that can be used on its own, or as a building block to create other structures. The attenuated cubes, which have three degrees of articulation, are made of thin polymer sheets that fold flat but can also pop up in a variety of different ways, just like the Hoberman Sphere. By attaching it to a pneumatic hose, a user can inflate a cube to create a bigger 3D structure. Overvelde says the material has numerous applications, from nano-scale stents that can be inserted into arteries and then expanded, to walls, which would fold open and ventilate your house when it gets hot.


About Peter Coffaro 1148 Articles

A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the medical device industry. As a District Sales Manager for Stryker Orthopaedics, Peter was responsible for managing and directing a regional sales force to achieve sales and profit goals within the Rocky Mountain region. Previously, he was the Director of Sales & Marketing for Amp Orthopedics. In this role, Peter was responsible for planning, developing, and leading all sales and marketing initiatives. Peter is a former orthopedic distributor in the Pacific Northwest. He has also worked with DePuy Orthopaedics as well as Zimmer, and held positions in sales, sales training, and sales management. Peter has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, negotiating and P&L management. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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