Programmable Liquid Matter: 2D Shape Deformation of Highly Conductive Liquid Metals in a Dynamic Electric Field
Yutaka Tokuda, Jose Luis Berna Moya, Gianluca Memoli, Timothy Neate, Deepak Ranjan Sahoo, Simon Robinson, Jennifer Pearson, Matt Jones, Sriram Subramanian
ISS 2017 - ACM International Conference on Interactive Surfaces and Spaces
Session: From Wall Displays to Liquid Matter
In this paper, we present a method which allows for the dynamic 2D transformation of liquid matter and present unique organic animations based on spatio-temporally controlled electric fields. We deploy an EGaIn (Gallium indium eutectic alloy) liquid metal which features electric conductivity and high dynamic range of surface tension when supplied with varying voltage. Controlling multiple arrays of electrodes dynamically, we found it is possible to manipulate a liquid metal into a fine-grained desired shape. To demonstrate our proof-of-concept, we present a 7x7 electrode array prototype system with an integrated liquid metal tracking system and a simple GUI.Taking advantage of the high conductivity of liquid metal, we introduce shape changing, reconfigurable smart circuit as an example of unique applications. We discuss the systems constraints and the overarching challenges of controlling liquid metal, such as splitting, self-electrode interference and finger instability problems. Finally, we reflect on the broader vision of this project and discuss our work in the context of the wider scope of programmable materials.