Reconfigurable Elastic Metamaterials

Willa Yunqi Yang, Yumeng Zhuang, Luke Darcy, Grace Liu, Alexandra Ion

We present a novel design for materials that are reconfigurable by end-users. Conceptually, we propose decomposing such reconfigurable materials into (1) a generic, complex material consisting of engineered microstructures (known as metamaterials) designed to be purchased and (2) a simple configuration geometry that can be fabricated by end-users to fit their individual use cases. Specifically, in this paper we investigate reconfiguring our material’s elasticity, such that it can cover existing objects and thereby augment their material properties. Users can configure their materials by generating the configuration geometry using our interactive editor, 3D printing it using commonly available filaments (e. g., PLA), and pressing it onto the generic material for local coupling. We characterize the mechanical properties of our reconfigurable elastic metamaterial and showcase the material’s applicability as, e.g., augmentation for haptic props in virtual reality, a reconfigurable shoe sole for different activities, or a battleship-like ball game.


Willa Yunqi Yang, Yumeng Zhuang, Luke Darcy, Grace Liu, Alexandra Ion. 2022. Reconfigurable Elastic Metamaterials. In Proceedings of UIST ’22. Bend, Oregon. Oct 29 – Nov 2, 2022. DOI:

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