Independent responsive behaviour and communication in hydrogel objects
In this work, we show the fabrication of soft hydrogel alginate-based objects, namely fibres and beads, that have an individually programmed time delay in their response to a shared environmental stimulus. We utilize the enzyme urease to programme a self-regulated change in pH, which in turn activates the designed response of gel fibre disintegration or a change in gel bead colour. This design allows for independent response behaviour of a collection of bodies in a single closed system, as well as inter-material communication on shorter length scales. The incorporation of responsive time control directly into soft matter objects demonstrates an advance in the field of autonomous materials.