These sorts of structural deformations are not new — researchers have already demonstrated “memory” and “smart material” properties. One of the most popular technologies is known as shape memory alloy, where a change of temperature triggers a shape change. Other successful approaches use electroactive polymers, pressurised fluids or gasses, chemical stimulus and even in response to light. — kurzweilai.net
What 4D printing offers is the opportunity for objects to change, to adapt to their environment, to respond.
Earlier this year, Skylar Tibbits, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Self-Assembly Lab, created a bit of a stir with his talk on 4D printing.
“We are looking at the ability to program physical and biological materials to change shape, change properties and even compute outside of silicon-based matter,” Mr. Tibbits told the TED conference in February. — blogs.wsj.com
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