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4D printing – 3D printed objects self-assemble into new objects

Screenshot after a 3D printed strand self-assembled into the cube shape. Credit: stratasys.com

Screenshot after a 3D printed strand self-assembled into the cube shape. Credit: stratasys.com

With 4D printing, different properties are embedded into the various parts of the 3D printed object enabling it to self-assemble into a new object when the printing is done. This is still experimental with obvious huge potential and possibilities.

4D Printing: Cube Self-Folding Strand from Skylar Tibbits on Vimeo.

In a collaboration between Stratasys’ Education, R&D departments and MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab, a new process is being developed, coined 4D Printing, which demonstrates a radical shift in rapid-prototyping. 4D Printing entails multi-material prints provided by the Connex Technology with the added capability of embedded transformation from one shape to another, directly off the print-bed. This revolutionary technique offers a streamlined path from idea to reality with full functionality built directly into the materials. Imagine robotics-like behavior without the reliance on complex electro-mechanical devices!

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