Programmable materials are a clever matter. Any material that can change state, shape or optical properties also has the power to change the world around it.
In 2013 the programmable materials pioneer Skylar Tibbits presented a TED talk on the birth of 4D printing. While 3D printing may be making waves in industries from house building to pharmaceuticals, or in the home in craft design or for repairs and replacement parts, 4D printing is a whole new movement.
4D printing is the idea of taking multi-material 3D printing to create an object that then transforms over time (the fourth dimension) into an entirely different shape or structure. This type of robotic building can be pre-designed with software and used for extremely tiny, or real world, objects.
There is an unprecedented revolution happening at the biological and nano-scale, says Tibbits, and this is giving us the ability to programme physical…
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