Is 4D Printing the Next Big Thing?

Is 4D Printing the Next Big Thing?

Forget 3D printing, Scientists at MIT have moved on to 4D printing, a process where printed materials are able to self-assemble into new structures.

At the TED 2023 conference in Long Beach, TED Fellow and MIT researcher Skylar Tibbitspresented the concept of 4D printing or self-assembly in which printed materials will be given an additional programmable layer that can hold a natural energy source that will allow it to change over time.

The researchers at MIT used a 3D printer from Stratasys and collaborated with Autodesk, a software developer that recently announced a partnershipwith notable 3D printer, Sculpteo. The researchers combined the plastics used to create the current 3D projects with a new material that can absorb water.

With the aid of the new programmable material, the object can then transform and adapt over time with the water acting as a natural energy source. Tibbits used the example of water pipes that can expand to cope with different capacities or flows and save digging up the street as a real world application.

To learn more about Tibbits presentation, check out the Blogor listen to his presentation below!






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