3D Printing of Small-Scale Soft Robots with Programmable Magnetization

Mohammad Hasan Dad Ansari*, Veronica Iacovacci, Stefano Pane, Mouloud Ourak, Gianni Borghesan, Izadyar Tamadon, Emmanuel Vander Poorten, Arianna Menciassi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Soft magnetic structures having a non-uniform magnetization profile can achieve multimodal locomotion that is helpful to operate in confined spaces. However, incorporating such magnetic anisotropy into their body is not straightforward. Existing methods are either limited in the anisotropic profiles they can achieve or too cumbersome and time-consuming to produce. Herein, a 3D printing method allowing to incorporate magnetic anisotropy directly into the printed soft structure is demonstrated. This offers at the same time a simple and time-efficient magnetic soft robot prototyping strategy. The proposed process involves orienting the magnetized particles in the magnetic ink used in the 3D printer by a custom electromagnetic coil system acting onto the particles while printing. The resulting structures are extensively characterized to confirm the validity of the process. The extent of orientation is determined to be between 92% and 99%. A few examples of remotely actuated small-scale soft robots that are printed through this method are also demonstrated. Just like 3D printing gives the freedom to print a large number of variations in shapes, the proposed method also gives the freedom to incorporate an extensive range of magnetic anisotropies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2211918
JournalAdvanced functional materials
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2023


  • 3D printing
  • magnetic actuation
  • magnetic anisotropy
  • microrobotics
  • programmable magnetization
  • soft robots


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