Modern optical devices require constant tuning of their light interaction settings. Lenses need to change focus, lidars have to emit and receive light at different angles. For that purpose, there exist various mechanical apparatuses that shift lenses, rotate reflectors, and move emitters. But what if they all were to become unnecessary? An international research team that includes staff members of ITMO University and the University of Exeter have proposed a new metamaterial capable of changing its optical properties without any mechanical input. This development could result in a significant improvement in the reliability of complex optical devices while making them cheaper to manufacture. The study was featured on the cover of the May 2020 issue of Optica.