Take 4D printing, an emerging technology being pioneered at MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab. As its creators described to Fast Company last week, the “4D” refers to the fourth dimension–time–and describes objects that adapt or self-assemble when exposed to particular environmental conditions, like heat or air. The Self-Assembly Lab is inventing entirely new ways to create this new generation of objects, including Rapid Liquid Printing, where an object is printed inside a vat of gel, allowing designers to rapidly print flexible, complex shapes.
A video of the process gives us our closest look at the process, which feels straight out of Westworld‘s title sequence as Fast Company’s Aileen Kwun pointed out in her deep dive into the project. But instead of printing android tissue to make humans and animals, the Self-Assembly Lab is starting with something much simpler: Inflatable home goods, for instance, and tote bags.
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