Imagine a pair of running shoes that grow spikes on their soles to gain traction when it starts to rain in the middle of a run, or camouflage material that changes color as the light changes. Those are just some of the applications that might become possible with a new technique known as 4D printing, developed by Stratasys Ltd., Autodesk, Inc., and Self-Assembly Lab at MIT.
The concept starts with additive manufacturing (3D printing), in which a machine builds a three-dimensional object by depositing successive layers of a material—polymers, resins, metals, ceramics—in almost any shape a designer can imagine. 3D printing has been garnering headlines and gaining a foothold in the world of manufacturing in recent years. The industry analysis firm Wohlers Associates says the worldwide market for 3D printing products and services reached $2.2 billion in 2012. Now some researchers are taking the next step by adding a fourth dimension—time.
No entries found
Log in to Read the Full Article
Sign in using your ACM Web Account username and password to access premium content if you are an ACM member, Communications subscriber or Digital Library subscriber.
Please select one of the options below for access to premium content and features.
Create a Web Account
If you are already an ACM member, Communications subscriber, or Digital Library subscriber, please set up a web account to access premium content on this site.
Join the ACM
Become a member to take full advantage of ACM's outstanding computing information resources, networking opportunities, and other benefits.
Subscribe to Communications of the ACM Magazine
Get full access to 50+ years of CACM content and receive the print version of the magazine monthly.
Purchase the Article
Non-members can purchase this article or a copy of the magazine in which it appears.