February 27, 2013

Next, 4-D Printers?

4D Printing: MIT Self-Folding Strand from Skylar Tibbits on Vimeo.

Now that the promise of 3-D printing has landed on the national agenda, researchers want to increase the stakes — with so-called 4-D printing. Bits reports.

quotemarksright.jpgScientists claim that their “fourth dimension” refers to time — as in the space-time continuum described by the mathematician Hermann Minkowski early in the 20th century. The 4-D structures are first generated by 3-D printers but then transform when activated.

“This is a whole new idea of printing, where you don’t just print static objects; you print things that turn into other things,” explained Skylar Tibbits, an M.I.T. researcher who is working on the printer collaboration with Stratasys, an Israeli 3-D printing company. Mr. Tibbits’s research has focused on self-assembly technologies, for things ranging from toys to furniture.quotesmarksleft.jpg

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