A joint research team at the University of Texas and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology announced that it has developed a three-dimensional puzzle-shaped structure with 27 hydrogel cubes.
This three-dimensional structure made of a hydrogel polymer material fixes different colors on each side of the cube and loosely bonds to each other, so you can actually play like a magic cube, a three-dimensional puzzle. However, this three-dimensional structure is strongly fixed after 24 hours after the individual cubes form new chemical bonds, so the puzzle cannot be enjoyed afterwards.
Of course, this structure is not made for three-dimensional puzzle play. The purpose is to create a medium for storing or displaying some kind of information. The aim of this study is to make smart tiles made of soft materials. According to the research team, for example, if it is human skin, the smart tile acts as a sensor that displays medical information such as blood sugar by changing the color, or a combination of color and structure. Can be saved and displayed. This three-dimensional puzzle-shaped structure was created as a result of searching for a way to encode information through color patterns and three-dimensional structures.
Some of the research team’s tasks are to fix color on each side of the hydrogel cube that composes the three-dimensional puzzle structure. In addition, the combination is weakened so that the three-dimensional puzzle structure arrangement can be changed by hand, while securing the strength to the extent that the overall structure shape does not collapse.
This announcement tells us that it is possible to achieve both and create a three-dimensional structure. This is one of the prerequisites for working in a specific application. Hydrogel, which has self-healing power, is a material that is widely studied as a medical biomaterial, but attracting attention is its characteristics similar to human living tissue. It gives expectations for research on access to information recording and display media with biocompatibility. Related information can be found here .