fbpx
  • 353
  •  
  •  
  • 4
  •  
    357
    Shares

Remember the old days when 3D printing was the new rage in town? The ability to not just print, but build your designs in three dimensions was nothing short of a dream. Humans had advanced to a unique new level. Stepping into the fantasy world of realizing your imagination in real time. The only missing element, if we could print out food from such printers. *drooling*

The innovation which has been prevalent for more than 30 years has its upgrade now in town. Say Aloha to 4D printing!

What is the Fourth D?

The fourth dimension integrated into the printing is that of time. Sounds fancy, right? It is. The concept is a brain child of an intricate research collaboration between MIT’s Self-Assembly Laboratory and the companies Autodesk Inc. and Stratasys. The research was first started by MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab Head, Skylar Tibbits. He focused on the development of expanding and deforming materials. Thus, this became the fourth element introduced into the modern day printing. To put it into simpler terms, the printed fibers from a 3D printer are so designed as to change shape based on certain stimuli. Still difficult to understand? Let me put it this way.
4D printing is just the added ability of 3D fibers to bend and change shape because of an external stimulus such as temperature, water, time, air etcetera.

The Working of 4D

The entire concept works off Stratasys’s Connex multi-material printing technology. The core idea of the fibers is their varied water absorbing capacities. Connex allows the users to integrate various material properties into the fibers. These different water-absorbing capabilities of different parts of the fibers allow for a change in shape when dipped in water. Better known as the ‘Self-Assembly Process.’

Image Source: DimensionAlley

Today With the Connex 3D Printer, a simple one-dimensional fiber can change into a 2D or 3D shape. A 2D fiber can change into a 1D or another 2D or a 3D shape. And any 3D fiber can change into any other 3D shape. All this without the use of any external force. *Mind blown*. So basically, the fiber becomes an ever-morphing masterpiece.

The Implications

Well, the prospects are tremendous. From non-electronic robotics to bio-compatible components, 4D fibers can transform the manufacturing scene. For instance, clothes and shoes that modify according to external temperatures, home appliances that respond to heat, healthcare implants that reshape without surgeon intervention. So on and so forth.

While the technology is still in a fetal stage, it has the potential to become the next big thing in material engineering. Imagine the possibilities. Your little black dress could become your little black bag.

Here’s a video about 4D Printing that will make you fall in love with the technology:

The human genius keeps inspiring us!


  • 353
  •  
  •  
  • 4
  •  
    357
    Shares

Comments

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!