Self-folding devices and materials for biomedical applications

Trends Biotechnol. 2012 Mar;30(3):138-46. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2011.06.013. Epub 2011 Jul 20.


Because the native cellular environment is 3D, there is a need to extend planar, micro- and nanostructured biomedical devices to the third dimension. Self-folding methods can extend the precision of planar lithographic patterning into the third dimension and create reconfigurable structures that fold or unfold in response to specific environmental cues. Here, we review the use of hinge-based self-folding methods in the creation of functional 3D biomedical devices including precisely patterned nano- to centimeter scale polyhedral containers, scaffolds for cell culture and reconfigurable surgical tools such as grippers that respond autonomously to specific chemicals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biocompatible Materials*
  • Equipment and Supplies*
  • Humans
  • Organ Culture Techniques / methods
  • Surgical Equipment


  • Biocompatible Materials