The emergence of “4D printing”
Imagine things can replicate by itself an appropriate design. In my opinion, we need 4D printing to make water pipes for snowing region.:)
MIT researcher Skylar Tibbits works on self-assembly — the idea that instead of building something (a chair, a skyscraper).
He is an artist and computational architect. Skylar Tibbits is working on “smart” components that can assemble themselves.
3D printing has grown in sophistication since the late 1970s; TED Fellow Skylar Tibbits is shaping the next development, which he calls 4D printing, where the fourth dimension is time.
This emerging technology will allow us to print objects that then reshape themselves or self-assemble over time.
Think a printed cube that folds before your eyes, or a printed pipe able to sense the need to expand or contract.
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According to the researcher Wei Zhu, “developing the technology Nano-engineers at the University of California, San Diego has been able to 3D print microscopic robots. They developed tiny robots shaped like fish. These are called microfish and are smaller than the width of human hair. Nanoparticles are added to various parts of the microfish to make them functional. Platinum nanoparticles installed in their tails help them propel forward. Magnetic nanoparticles installed in their head can be used to steer them.
The microfish are developed using a 3D printing technology called microscale continuous optical printing. This technology allows 3D printing hundreds of microfish within seconds. The shapes of the microbots to be changed, for example, to experiment with different shapes of fish such as sharks vs. ray fish, or experiment with other shapes such as birds.
We have developed an entirely new method to engineer nature-inspired microscopic swimmers that have complex geometric structures and are smaller than the width of a human hair. With this method, we can easily integrate different functions inside these tiny robotic swimmers for a broad spectrum of applications.” For example, toxic neutralizing particles can be included in the microfish to use them for detoxifying liquids. In future, this technology may allow delivery of medicine to specific parts of the body via a bloodstream”.