Programmable solids. Any shape you like.

Science magazine is shaping up for a flexible future, with a whole new kind of 3D LCD screen:

The moving images we see on a display are created by controlling the net orientation of the molecules, which changes the optical polarization of the liquid so that it either blocks or transmits light. But what if instead of producing an image on a flat screen, your LCD television could transform into different three-dimensional (3D) objects, and then back to a flat screen? Is it possible for soft materials to reproduce shapes instead of images? On page 982 of this issue, Ware et al. (1) demonstrate this possibility with liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs).

There are images of the LCEs making different textures on Science‘s Twitter feed.

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