Journal article

When nothing is constant but change: Adaptive and sensorial materials and their impact on product design

This article is the preface to the Special Issue of the Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures on occasion of the Symposium A53 MEMS/NEMS for Sensorial and Actorial Materials' held at the Euromat 2011 Conference, Montpellier, France, September 12-15, 2011. The authors outline the concept of material-integrated sensing and intelligence, which is summarized in the term sensorial materials. Such materials are understood to incorporate sensing, signal and data processing as well as communication facilities to autonomously evaluate their own condition and/or their environment. To achieve these capabilities, bottom-up as well as top-down approaches are currently being discussed. The latter is highlighted in this work. Research efforts towards it range from materials science to sensor and microelectromechanical system (MEMS)/nanoelectromechanical system (NEMS) technology, microelectronics and computer science and were covered in the underlying Euromat symposium. As a specific aspect linked to the envisaged autonomy and a resulting adaptivity, for example, of internal self-representation and data interpretation, potential consequences for engineering design are sketched.


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