The researchers of the Hasso-Plattner Institute are now exploring a project that they call 'Metamaterial Mechanisms,' which involves engineering an object's outer shape, as well as its "inner microstructure" all at once.
The research project is best exemplified by a metamaterial door latch, which uses the movement of the handle in order to also impact the inner movement of a system of cellular grids that make up the latch mechanism. As a result, the 3D-printed metamaterials require no assembly because they consist of a single part.
Metamaterial Mechanisms has also been explored with a walking object that takes inspiration from Theo Jansen's Strandbeest. These kinds of mechanisms speak of the immense amount of impact that 3D printing and CAD will have on the future of product design and engineering.