April 5, 2013

Skylar Tibbits, an architect, designer and computer scientist presented a new concept in February 2013: 4D printing. This emerging technology will allow us to print objects that then reshape themselves or self-assemble over time. Just imagine, a printed cube that folds before your eyes, or a printed pipe able to sense the need to expand or contract.

(Images credit: sjet.us)

Can we create objects that assemble themselves -- that zip together like a strand of DNA or that have the ability for transformation embedded into them? These are the questions that Skylar Tibbits investigates in his Self-Assembly Lab at MIT, a cross-disciplinary research space where designers, scientists and engineers come together to find ways for disordered parts to become ordered structures.

Watch the video Skylar Tibbits: The emergence of "4D printing" on TED 2013:

Tibbits teaches design studios at MIT's Department of Architecture and co-teaches the seminar "How to Make (Almost) Anything" at MIT's Media Lab. Before that, he worked at a number of design offices including Zaha Hadid Architects, Asymptote Architecture, SKIII Space Variations and Point b Design.

In 2007, Tibbits and Marc Fornes co-curated Scriptedbypurpose, the first exhibition focused exclusively on scripted processes within design. Also in 2007, he founded SJET, a research platform for experimental computation and design.

Here are some very cool projects from Tibbits and his teams. In a collaboration between Stratasys and MIT's Self-Assembly Lab, 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.

Below is a project collaborated with Arthur Olson, The Molecular Graphics Laboratory, The Scripps Institute, CA. The Self-Assembly Line is a large-scale version of self-assembly virus modules as an interactive and performative structure. A discrete set of module/unit geometries are activated by stochastic rotation from a larger container/structure that forces the interaction between units. The unit geometry and attraction mechanisms (magnetics) ensure the units will come into contact with one another and auto-align into locally-correct configurations. Overtime as more units come into contact, break away, and reconnect, a larger structure emerges.

MacroBot's transforming:

Decibot, is the largest of the family with overall dimensions of 144″x18″x18″ unfolded and 36″x36″x36″ folded into a cube:


Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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