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Optical image of a diode array on a natural single crystalline diamond plate. (The image looks blurred due to light scattering by the array of small pads on top of the diamond plate.) Inset shows the deposited anode metal on top of a heavy doped silicon nanomembrane that is bonded to natural single crystalline diamond.
Programmable matter isn't a thing that we have a lot of experience with yet. It's still very much a technology that’s slowly emerging from research labs. MIT is one of those research centers, and Basheer Tome, a masters student at the MIT Tangible Media Group, has been working on one type of programmable material. Tome’s “membrane-backed rigid material,” called Exoskin, is made up of tessellated triangles of firm silicone mounted on top of a stack of flexible silicone bladders. By selectively inflating these air bladders, the Exoskin can dynamically change its shape to react to your touch, communicate information, change functionality, and more.
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