Embedded movement - responsive shape-changing surfaces

Paula van brummelen

TU Berlin - design-based doctoral studies (PEP) & weißensee academy of art berlinmentoring: Prof. Dr. Ignacio Borrego (TU), Prof. Dr. Jörg Petruschat (KHB) , Prof. Christiane Sauer (KHB)


By embedding shape-changing materials into surface structures, surfaces can be created that are no longer understood as passive envelopes, covers or carrier materials, but rather as autonomous operative systems. The PhD project Embedded Movement is located at the intersection of „Active Matter“ and interactive textile systems. The project aims to investigate how flexible surface systems can be given kinetic and sensory functional potentials without losing typical textile properties such as deformability, lightness and reduced composition. By embedding intelligent and operative materials in flexible structures or manufacturing structures from such materials, surfaces will be created that have the ability to register changes in their environment and react to them with reversible changes in shape.


Currently, the research focuses on:

• Creating strategies to enable shape change abilities

• Enable adaptive multifunctionality in an architectural context

• Analysis of characteristics of movement an their influence on human perception.


In a first series of experiments within Embedded Movement, 3D printing processes are used to seamlessly integrate shape memory alloys (SMA) into flexible surfaces. The results are flexible membrane structures that have the ability to deform autonomously and reversibly as the ambient temperature changes. At this 3D printed structures with SMA actuators Movement of 3D printed structures with SMA3D printed and casted material samples with SMAVIDEO EMBEDDED MOVEMENT

stage, different surface properties (geometries, material and material thickness), and their influence on the motion generated by SMA actuators are investigated. In addition, the structures are partially 3D printed with conductive filaments, giving them a touch-sensitive property.


Paula van Brummelen has been working as a design researcher at weißensee academy of art berlin since completing her master studies in textile and surface design as well as in art education. Her research fo-cuses on the development of functional surfaces with integrated smart materials for an architectural cont-ext and on the investigation of interaction possibili-ties with shape-changing surfaces and the influence of movement on the perception of materials. Last summer she started her PHD at the Technical University of Ber-lin in the program for design-based doctoral studies (PEP) and is therefore currently working on flexible 3D printed kinetically reactive surfaces.



Weserstrasse 43, 12045 Berlin

+49 157 88363752