The printer would incorporate time as the fourth dimension, with 3D printed structures changing their form when activated.

3D printing is poised to disrupt nearly every industry, with applications ranging from replicating organs to constructing houses. But now MIT is looking even further into the future by introducing the idea of 4D printing.

MIT lecturer Skylar Tibbits, the founder of it’s new Self-Assembly Lab, unveiled the technology at the TED conference in Long Beach, California. 4D printing incorporates time as the fourth dimension, with 3D printed structures changing their form when activated.

He demonstrated a collaboration with 3D printing company Stratasys to create strands of material that fold themselves into pre-designed shapes when placed in water. The NY Times reports:

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