DARPA Makes Progress with Programmable Matter
Clean Technica reports that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has been making headway with their exciting programmable matter project. In a nutshell, programmable matter is a way to create and disassemble solid objects on command – a kind of miracle material that can be instantly molded into anything.
From the DARPA press release:
The five research teams are pursuing a variety of scientific approaches. The Harvard University team of researchers led by Professor George Whitesides is developing a sort of “generalized Rubik’s Cube” that acts as a central organizer to encode information and assemble matter. Professor David R. Liu’s Harvard team is relying on DNA base pairing as a sort of molecular Velcro to program the assembly or disassembly of “smart” materials. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Professor Daniela Rus has created an innovative computational origami of two- and three-dimensional functional structures, through the “folding” of matter. Also based at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Professor Neil Gershenfeld’s team is pursuing a concept called “milli-biology,” in which digital components are employed to engineer mesoscale analogs of biological structure and function. At Cornell University, Associate Professor Hod Lipson’s team is using jamming to create extreme strength in materials that are assembled using enzyme-mimetic building blocks of matter.