Taking inspiration from the butterfly, Tufts University researchers created light-activated composite devices that execute precise, visible movements and form complex three-dimensional shapes, without the need for wires or other actuating materials or energy sources.

In one demonstration, a photonic sunflower tracked illumination and curled its petals toward light.

“We think this is up to anyone’s imagination, from lamp shades that change shape, to valves that can be opened and closed by shining light on them, to shape shifting materials that could be used for soft robotics,” researcher Fiorenzo Omenetto told Tech Briefs in a Q&A last week.

What do you think?

This week's Question: Do You See Potential for Objects That Change Shape via Light?

What do you think?