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Research at the intersection of science, application, and design

Our research sits at the intersection of Additive Manufacturing, Architected Materials, and Computational Design. We develop fabrication processes that enhance structural complexity, material versatility, and throughput speed in 3D printing. We employ modern computational tools, such as numerical modeling, mathematical optimization, and machine learning, but also use human creativity and bio-inspiration to systematically explore the design space. The results are (meta)materials, structures, and processes with outstanding properties and novel functionality.

In the past, this allowed us to precisely control the fiber-alignment in composite materials; to fabricate lightweight structures that overcome the mutual exclusivity between strength and toughness; to design smart textiles that autonomously adapt to changes in the environment; to build active lattices that can seamlessly switch from hard to soft; and to manufacture soft robotic walkers that achieve record-breaking speeds when crawling off the print platform -- among many other examples. Occasionally, we let our passion and excitement lead us into uncharted areas out of our comfort zone, for example, to explore how an African bird can transport water over tens of miles to their young. Our work has been published in high-impact journals like Advanced Materials, PNAS, and Nature, and received worldwide interest from several media outlets, including The Boston Globe, The Times, TechCrunch, Forbes, New Scientist, Fast Company, MIT Technology Review, NBC, and BBC.

In the future, we will continue this direction and draw even more from the symbiosis of the often-decoupled research areas. We are further interested in utilizing our capabilities and achievements to advance – and utilize – state-of-the-art technologies for social good. Towards this goal, we recently secured funding for our project Next-Generation Prosthetics: Towards the end of disability via digital fabrication and are excited to take this field to the next level.

Make sure to also check out our Featured Projects below and our Publications section for more information!

How can we utilize machine intelligence in the development of materials, structures, and processes with new functionalities and outstanding properties?

Featured Project:

New 3D printer makes multi-material robots

3D printers can create a huge variety of shapes, usually deposited layer by layer using a single material. Creating objects made from several materials is possible, but switching between the different printable substances has so far been a slow process. Now, a new printhead co-developed by the Mueller Lab allows for rapid 3D printing of detailed objects with multiple materials.

Featured Project:

Multimaterial 3D printing with a twist

We co-developed a rotational multimaterial 3D printing platform capable of creating helical filaments with precise orientation and composition control. The platform allows fabrication of helical structures with programmable helix angles, layer thickness, and interfacial areas between multiple materials within a given voxel. Applications include functional artificial muscles and hierarchical lattices with local stiffness control.

Featured Project:

How an African Bird Might Inspire a Better Water Bottle

With high resolution microscopes and 3D technology, the Mueller Lab and collaborators at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology captured an unprecedented view of feathers from the desert-dwelling Sandgrouse, showcasing the singular architecture of their feathers and revealing for the first time how they can hold so much water.