Machine Design

Body heat activates novel gels


Morph gels are liquid and pliable until they reach a certain predetermined temperature. Then their viscosity dramatically increases until they reach a desired level of firmness. The gel perfectly conforms to and supports the person wearing it.

Gels engineered to respond to changes in body heat can be tuned to be either soft and comfortable or firm and supportive, depending on the application. The gels are semiliquid and readily conform to human contours in the presence of body warmth. As temperature rises, the material becomes more viscous and firm. But, the process reverses itself when the temperature stimulus is removed and the gel returns to its semiliquid state.

The Morph gels from Massachusetts-based Foster-Miller Inc. ( and Smart Materials Inc. will provide support, pressure relief, or pressure distribution. They will find their way into medical (artificial limbs, braces, bedding, and wheel chairs), apparel (hats, bras, and gloves), sports and automotive (camping equipment, bike and boat seats, head and arm rests, and safety seats and belts), and other consumer products where safety, fit, and comfort are paramount.

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