Skip to comments.Move over 3D printing, self-assemblng 4D-printed materials are on the way
Posted on 06/05/2013 3:22:30 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
Molecular self-assembly, whereby molecules position themselves into defined arrangements, is commonplace in biological systems and nanotechnology. But researchers at MIT are working on so called "4D printing" technology that aims to bring the process up to the macro scale, enabling 3D-printed materials to be programmed to self-assemble into predefined shapes and structures. Just imagine buying some flat-pack furniture, bringing it home and enjoying a coffee whilst you watch it assemble itself.
This month, Skylar Tibbits, director of the MIT Self-Assembly lab, was named as one of the six Architectural League winners for collaborative research into programmable materials. The 4D printing process (with the 4th dimension being self-assembly over time) involves the use of materials that change their shape in response to movement or environmental factors, such as the presence of water, air, and/or temperature changes.
The technology has the potential to change the face of construction and manufacturing and could make it easier to build in extreme environments (including space or other planets) where construction is dangerous or expensive.
Tibbits demonstrates the process in this TED talk, where a self-folding strand that is 3D printed using a smart material developed by Stratasys folds into the MIT logo when placed in water, while another object folds into a cube. These are thought to be the first times that a program of transformation has been embedded directly into a material itself.
Tibbits confirms that to apply 4D printing at the macro scale, you would need to combine the right materials and geometry with a tightly coupled energy source, while designing the material interactions that allow it to transform. For the design process, the Self-Assembly Lab team use new Autodesk software called Project Cyborg, which allows them to simulate how and when the various components fold at both a nano and macro scale.
According to Tibbits, as well as providing the ability to embed shape-changing programming into non-electronic materials, the technology could also usher in materials that could perform computing functions at a nano scale.
The Self-Assembly Lab believes the technology has the potential to revolutionize a wide variety of fields, including "biology, material science, software, robotics, manufacturing, transportation, infrastructure, construction, the arts, and even space exploration."
Collaborators on the project include Shelly Linor & Daniel Dikovsky, Education & Research & Development, Stratasys and Carlos Olguin, Bio/Nano Programmable Matter Research Group, Autodesk.
CLICK ABOVE LINK FOR THE VIDEO...
Cool, just when does it know when to stop?
We have a lot of reasons to lose faith in America, but then you read something like this. We are still the innovators.
3D printing is over 20 years old, but it feels like were just finally starting to truly unlock the potential of the technology. The continued march of technology is relentless, however, and some inventors are already thinking about what comes next.
The next big thing may very well be 4D printing, a new technology from Skylar Tibbits, an architect, designer and computer scientist. The core concept behind this new technology is self assembly.
It may sound strange and far out, but its actually quite simple. 4D printing is being billed as a process where synthetic objects can change and adapt themselves to the environment.
4D Printing Self-Building Space Stations!
Think 3-D printing is cool? Try 4-D
Like the guys t-shirt!
Skynet is waiting.........
It is watching you....
It emails me several times a day updates regarding your movements....
Crap! That’s the last time i inventory my ammo supply in the living room!
Replicate me a burger and fries while your at it. Next it
will be matter to energy to matter. And then people will
start popping into your dinning room at dinner time to
sell you a timeshare. Has anyone ran into them selves
This adds a whole new dimension to your ping list.
3-D Printer Ping!
Political power grows out of the nozzle of a 3-D Printer.
I did, but I shot the obnoxious SOB. There can only be one.
Just gotta stay one dimension ahead of the commie scumbags.
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