Plant-inspired origami microfluidic device
Inspired by the responsive movement of clovers, a team of engineers supervised by Professor Anderson Shum (Croucher Senior Research Fellowship 2020) and led by Dr Yi Pan at the University of Hong Kong have developed an origami microfluidic device that can respond to changes in the environment, such as temperature, light intensity, and humidity.
Microfluidics is a multidisciplinary field that studies systems responsible for manipulating and processing tiny amounts of liquid. Conventional microfluidic devices are two dimensional in nature and do not respond to external stimulus.
However, the team explored the possibility of a three dimensional microfluidic device by embedding stimulus-responsive materials into a thin elastomeric structure, making the device responsive to its environment by folding and opening like a clover plant.
Shum believes their findings can be applied to shape-adaptive flexible electronics.
“In wearable flexible electronics, the surface conformity between the device and the human body affects the efficiency of signal induction. If flexible electronics had the ability to distort in response to our bodies, this could improve its performance,” Shum added.
Their findings were published in Science Advances.