MIT researchers have developed a method for 3D printing materials with tunable mechanical properties, that sense how they are moving and interacting with the environment. The method opens opportunities for embedding sensors within architected materials, a class of materials whose mechanical properties are programmed through form and composition. This technique could someday be used to create flexible soft robots with embedded sensors that enable the robots to understand their posture and movements. While architected materials can exhibit unique properties, integrating sensors within them is challenging given the materials’ often sparse, complex shapes. This new method provides accurate proprioceptive capabilities for soft robots and opens the door for exploring the world through touch,” says Rus.