Soft Programmable Joint

Starting from researching flexible joints that can be controlled using the geometry of its microstructure, the group created a series of connection diagrams with physical prototypes. The diagram explores the geometric possibilities, and the physical prototypes help to characterize the mechanical properties of the connections. Based on this initial study, the group created a joint consisting of lattice structures that have different cellular connectivity. Linear elements such as columns and beams can directly be embedded within the joint and the microstructure of the joint is customized based on the loading condition, connectivity, and dimensional requirements. For speculative applications, the group envisioned a lightweight and versatile soft joint that can connect between timber framing with complex joint connections. The joint attaches to the timber components similar to a shrink wrap. The material used for the joint is prescribed to be both flexible and tough so that it can withstand large tensile forces at multiple directions


  • Nanjing University


  • Cao Yan (Nanjing University), Guo Xin (Nanjing University),
  • Li Xiaonan (Nanjing University), Zuo Bin (Nanjing University),
  • Guohua Ji (Nanjing University), and Ziyu Tong (Nanjing University)