Antonio Elia Forte, Paul Z. Hanakata, Lishuai Jin, Emilia Zari, Ahmad Zareei, Matheus C. Fernandes, Laura Sumner, Jonathan Alvarez, Katia Bertoldi
Advanced Functional Materials, 2111610, January 2022
Publication year: 2022


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 we present a simple and efficient platform to design pre-programmed 3D shapes starting from two-dimensional planar composite membranes. By training Neural Networks with a small set of finite element simulations, we were 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, we show how these inversely designed membranes can be used for mechanotherapy applications, by stimulating certain areas whilst avoiding prescribed locations.