28-Jan-2021 | Market Research Store

Wageningen University researchers have lately developed a velcro-like fastener that too in a microscopic structure. The latestfasteneris designed like a tiny mushroomso as to help make advances in everyday consumers and also in scientific fields like robotics. The fastener is designed using soft materials to provide it with the necessary strength and flexibility. The study published in Biointerphasesclearly explains about the probabilistic fasteners functionality.

The current fastener is designed such that a pattern on one side interlocks with the ones on the other end. But, the earlier versions,including Velcro and 3M, were termed ashook and loop fasteners. These fasteners required stiff materials that caused loud ripping sound on the peeling off and they also damaged delicate surfaces such as fabrics. The team thus thought of using softer, more flexible materials to create a 3D mushroom design. The researchers found the half-spherical mushroom shapes to help offer desired interconnecting force on the fabric for a better hold. The use of 3D printing combined with molding made creation of soft materials to be further designed into tiny mushrooms possible. This material could be securely attached to 3 diverse fabrics and also removed without any damage.

The use of soft materials helped the attaching and detaching from fabrics easier without causing any damage. The latest fasteners have broad range applications right from thediapersto silent fasteners for military purpose. Even though the mushroom-shaped design proved effective for soft mechanical fasteners there is still a lot of research to be done. The current study is likely to advance the field of soft robotics. In soft robotics, the researchers are working on building robots that mimic real life creatures including octopuses, worms, and caterpillars.The soft materials and advances in the designs can help create robots that can perform various tasks like walking on walls or ceilings, detach or attach just like probabilistic fasteners. The researchers believe that the current design could be used as grippers in robots used in agricultural jobs. There is still more research required to be done before commercializing the product.