Scientists 4d print novel vine-inspired wrist splint

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Researchers from the University of Freiburg and the University of Stuttgart have developed a novel method of 4D printing wearable medical devices that self-adjust to the anatomy of the patient.

Inspired by the propagation mechanism of the air potato plant (Dioscorea bulbifera), the printed systems can be pre-programmed to carry out complex movements when exposed to moisture. The team has already leveraged the approach to 4D print a self-tightening orthotic wrist splint, one that wraps around the arm of the patient on its own.

Tiffany Cheng, co-author of the study, told Materials Today, “We showed how functional and structural principles from biology could be transferred to technical material systems. Our work constitutes an important step in expanding the design space and tunable functionality of bio-inspired solutions.”