Is 3D printing out of date? 4D printing makes things in science fictions come true!
Recently, a team of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with the help of 3D printing technology, transformed the original object after printing to produce a new lightweight material that was ten times stronger than steel with only 1/20 of weight, making 4D printing another milestone in printing history.
In addition to 3D printing, which has three-dimensional structure, 4D printing adds a new dimension, which is TIME, which means things printed by 4D printing can no longer exist in a fixed form, but can be set according to the pre-set time, under certain conditions.
Early in January 2015, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has designed a hollow 4D dress, which will self adjusts itself based on the wearer's body. Soon, the laboratory also print out the world's first pair of 4D shoes which can be in accordance with the shape and size of the human foot dynamically.
In March 2016, BMW tried to use 4D printing for automotive parts-a flexible cover on the wheel and it could be adjusted according to the environment and brought a very good aerodynamic performance.
The current 4D printing requires external energy to stimulate the internal changes, and its main application scenarios are still in the lab. Therefore, it will be an important issue in the future to develop its design software and dedicated printer.
Let’s just imagine, in the near future, with the use of 4D printing technology, what scenes that are only in science fiction files would be in front of us.