Manufacturing nonplanar electronics often requires the integration of functions and forms through embedding circuit boards into 3D shapes. While most popular solutions rely on cavities where electronics reside in forms of rigid circuit boards, other alternative approaches leverage 3D printing or layer lamination to create 3D electronics that often require expensive manufacturing processes and materials. Furthermore, many conventional methods are incompatible with complex geometries. In response, we introduce MorphingCircuit, an integrated design, simulation, and fabrication workflow that combines electronic functions with forms through 4D printing, which effectively reduces cost, production time, and e-waste. Specifically, we start by printing a flat substrate and assembling functional electronics on top of it. The flat structure will then self-morph into a preprogrammed 3D shape when triggered by external heating. Overall, our comprehensive 3D electronics fabrication pipeline encompasses the design, simulation, fabrication, and transformation, with which we hope to inspire designers, researchers, and makers to create conformal electronics on complex substrate geometries that were previously difficult or impossible to design or manufacture.
MorphingCircuit: An Integrated Design, Simulation, and Fabrication Workflow for Self-morphing Electronics. (UbiComp/IMWUT)
Guanyun Wang, Fang Qin, Haolin Liu, Ye Tao, Yang Zhang, Yongjie Jessica Zhang, Lining Yao
Morphing Matter Lab
Human-Computer Interaction Institute
Carnegie Mellon University