Jan.12, 2013

Is it possible to 3D print buildings? Neri Oxman believes we will soon be able to 3D print buildings. Neri Oxman is a designer, architect, artist and founder of the Mediated Matter group at MIT. "I don't want to design a building as I have learned," Neri Oxman tells CNN, "I want to question what it means to design a building."

"In the future we will print 3D bone tissue, grow living breathing chairs and construct buildings by hatching swarms of tiny robots. The future is closer than we think; in fact, versions of it are already present in our midst."

Neri Oxman was named one of the most creative people in design by Fast Company magazine. Featured recently on CNN's "The Next List" Neri Oxman explains her design process and products and how she got inspired by nature.

"Spiders create trailing routes and capture their prey. They wrap their prey. They wrap their eggs. So they generate silk for various functions. So, in a way, the spider is a kind of multi-material 3D printer."

"There is nothing that I consider unachievable or undoable or inconceivable." says Oxman.

At MIT's Media Lab, Oxman has also converted a robotic arm to a 3D printer. ""How can we reinterpret 3D printing in a way that suggests a new design language?" Oxman experiments with different printable materials – everything from concrete to silk. "That concrete can be many things," she says. "That concrete can become a transparent window."

She listed five avant-garde design credos that she employs to characterize this shift and create innovative projects:

1. Growth Over Assembly: "Nature grows things," Oxman explains. She believes that we should learn from the nature, that our design should grow over time to adapt to different functions to each entity.

We are considering the next generation of printers no longer just 3D, but 4D - in other words, in the future we will be able to print objects that will respond to their users, adapt to their environment and even grow over time after they have been printed.

2. Integration Over Segregation: Instead of creating buildings that made up of discrete parts fulfilling distinct functions, such as protective shell, insulation and connection, Oxman thinks a building's skin should be like human skin whose pores also contract and expand in relation to the environment. Her team is now now considering ways of printing these sort of breathable building skins to integrate barrier and filtering functions into a single material system.

3. Heterogeneity Over Homogeneity: Our industrial products are made up of a single material property or an assembly of several materials. In contrast, in nature things are composed of different materials. Oxman and her team are exploring ways to control the material, for example concrete, to find intelligent form.

4. Difference over Repetition: In Nature every cellular unit is unique. "Comprehending difference enables us to design repetitive systems – like bone tissue – that can vary their properties according to environmental constraints. As a consequence of this new approach we will be able to design behavior rather than form."

5. Material is the New Software: "Our ability to design and fabricate intelligent materials and objects will no longer depend on patching materials with electronics, but rather on our ability to turn material itself into software," she writes. "It inspires us to embed material with distributed intelligence rather than attach it to an on-off switch."

"I believe in the near future, we will be using 3D printing to print buildings, houses and once you can print with concrete, eventually with titanium and other composite materials. And that would, of course, be a dream." says Neri Oxman.

Watch the CNN video below:

 

Source: CNN

 

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Posted in 3D Printing Technology

 

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