MIT researchers are printing materials that fold, transform, and shape themselves, and could adapt to changing environmental conditions. No assembly required. This is what is called 4D printing, a technique which adds the fourth dimension, time, to the increasingly popular process of 3D printing.

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 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.

Hope you will find interesting the Skylar Tibbits TED Talk in 2013 as well. Have a nice week.

Skylar Tibbits: The emergence of "4D printing"