Nature Architects provides shape design solutions for manufacturers to incorporate various physical functions such as vibration, heat conduction, deformation, and weight reduction into their products by utilizing metamaterials.
Metamaterials *1 is a generic term for structures that realize functions beyond the physical functions of materials such as resins and metals through artificially designed geometric structures. Appropriate use of metamaterials will make it possible to achieve advanced physical functions that were previously thought impossible to achieve using conventional manufacturing methods such as injection molding and metal processing. In addition, metamaterials can be used to create precision movements and flexibility in a single structure without assembly, which has conventionally been achieved by assembling mechanical parts or combining different materials.
In this way, metamaterials can be used to incorporate new physical functions into products without increasing the number of assembled parts. In addition, metamaterials enable designs that go beyond conventional methods to balance multiple trade-offs in design requirements, such as weight reduction and rigidity.
The design of these metamaterials is supported by our proprietary design technology, Direct Functional Modeling™️ (DFM), which enables the instantaneous generation of the appropriate metamaterial structure from the desired physical function and its incorporation into the product. DFM applies to end products that explicitly deal with motion, such as robotics, automotive, and aerospace, as well as components such as levers, switches, fans, and springs.
By using DFM, Nature Architects can incorporate various physical functions such as deformation, flexibility, vibration absorption, and thermal conductivity into products, and develop new products with greatly increased added value in collaboration with clients.
(*1: This includes structures that generate mechanical movement, such as moving parts, through elastic deformation (compliant mechanisms)).
(*2: We mainly deal with shapes that are compatible with manufacturing methods suitable for mass production, such as press working and injection molding).
DFM (Direct Functional Modeling™) is a generic term for a group of design algorithms that determine the shape of a product by calculating backwards from the properties required by the user. DFM has two strands of algorithms: 1) an algorithm for automatically generating metamaterial unit structures, and 2) an algorithm for assigning the extracted metamaterial unit structures to external shapes, in order to achieve the process of calculating shapes backward from functions, which is difficult in ordinary product development.
Metamaterial unit structures, called lattices or compliant mechanisms, have physical properties such as rigidity as the unit structure. the DFM generates a large number of metamaterial unit structures in advance and analyzes their functions.