NC: I see myself as a proponent of computation in the field of smart materials. But the word ‘smart’ is overloaded; there is also a lot of discussion about active materials. I created the term ‘robotic materials’ because I come from robotics and my research is on materials for robots. Robots are placed in the real world and must therefore respond to an often uncertain environment. Robotic materials can take an active part in this challenge since they integrate acting and reacting into the material itself [Mengüç et al. 2017]. I think a robotic material is the ultimate smart material because it actually behaves like a robot–for example, it can move, it can change its shape, and its appearance [Hughes, Heckman, and Correll 2019]. It is about a new class of metamaterials that tightly integrate sensing, actuation, computation, communication, and power routing in a periodic fashion.
Correll, Nikolaus, Michael Friedman, and Karin Krauthausen. "Interview with Nikolaus Correll: Robotic Materials." Active Materials (2021): 173. [PDF]