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uniMorph – Rapid digital fabrication of film shape-changing interfaces

Created by Felix Heibeck, Basheer Tome and Clark Della Silva with supervision from Hiroshi Ishii at the MIT’s Tangible Media Group, uniMorph is an enabling technology for rapid digital fabrication of customized thin-film shape-changing interfaces.

Working with easily available materials and reproducible techniques, uniMorph project leverages the simple unimorph actuation principle that can be found in bi-metals and combines it with the thermoelectric characteristics of copper and the vastly different thermal expansion rate of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW PE) and Kapton. uniMorph enables passive and active shape-actuation of thin flexible sheets and circuits.


Passive actuation can leverage access heat, like the heat from a lightbulb, to create simple shape transformations. More complex and active shape-actuation can be achieved by designing resistive heating patterns into a flexible circuit. The use of flexible circuits also allows for additional electronics such as sensors, LEDs, and even microcontrollers.

The examples of application have all been programmed in Arduino and run on custom Arduino compatible boards. In some cases, the flexible circuits were designed so the Arduino microchips (ATMega328P) could be soldered right on top of them.

Read more about uniMorph in this paper which is going to be presented at UIST’15.

Project PageTangible Media Group – MIT Media Lab