Metamaterials are those whose function is determined by structure and not composition. They can be used to transform from soft to a hard state and function in a variety of environments to solve specific problems. The next step is to develop materials that maintain their structure but autonomously modify their shape to change their function. Harvard researchers have developed a framework for these metamaterials.
Such materials can be used for foldable solar panels and other morphable structures. This particular model has polyhedron components. The material can switch form in a smooth fashion. Harvard has shared more about this framework here.