Scientists at Harvard have developed a 3D printing technique that can create objects capable of adapting to their surroundings.
Inspired by plants, the experts at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University as well as the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are using ‘hydrogel composite structure[s]’ to cause 3D printed objects to change form according to shifting external stimuli. The team calls it 4D printing.
— Wyss Institute (@wyssinstitute) January 25, 2016
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Designed in the shape of an orchid, the ‘4D plants’ begin to transform as soon as they come in contact with water. While this might not immediately strike you as impressive, the scientists remark that this “new method opens up new potential applications for 4D printing technology, including smart textiles, soft electronics, biomedical devices, and tissue engineering.”
Additionally, as lead authors of the study Jennifer Lewis and Elisabetta Matsumoto explain in the video below, the technology is likely to improve and become more complex in the future.
Watch a short video of this new technology here: