WHAT IS IT?
We’ve all heard of 3D printing. But what the heck is 4D printing?
3D printing is poised to disrupt nearly every industry, with applications ranging from replicating organs to constructing houses. But now MIT is looking even further into the future by introducing the idea of 4D printing. The printer would incorporate time as the fourth dimension, with 3D printed structures changing their form when activated.
MIT lecturer Skylar Tibbits, the founder of it’s new Self-Assembly Lab, unveiled the technology at the TED conference in Long Beach, California. He demonstrated collaboration with 3D printing company Stratasys to create strands of material that fold themselves into pre-designed shapes when placed in water.
WHY IT IS COOL?
I think it’s cool because the technology continues to develop. Many scientists are every day trying to make life better for us all. With 4D printing meaning parts transform in them own over time.
This is a great future growth potential because they are interested in developing near-term applications that can make a more adaptive and resilient environment. As well as very far-term design for the future: “making” lifelike materials at the macro scale.