Who says a car’s interior has to remain static? A collaboration between MIT’s Self-Assembly Laboratory and BMW Design Department has resulted in adaptable, inflatable structures that one day could allow for customizable and multi-functional interiors.
The process, called “Liquid Printed Pneumatics” combines rapid liquid printing technology and soft robotics to create a system of air chambers that can inflate or deflate changing the shape and stiffness of the material on demand in a matter of seconds.
Prior to the development of Liquid Printed Pneumatics, a design like this would have involved advanced molding techniques. However, now they can be manufactured by 3D printing in silicone.
BMW officials say the new adaptive material could mean an unlimited number of transformable surfaces tailored to comfort, cushion and improved performance.
Although it might be a while until this new material makes it into your next vehicle, you can get a sneak peek at it at “The Future Starts Here” exhibition in London.