Girls in STEM

Update: Spotlight School Success

Update: Spotlight School Success

SUCCESS! Since electing Liberty Elementary School as our Spotlight School, we have come to adore the Liberty family more and more each day.  T

News and Insight

Search articles, videos and updates on 3D Printing and its growing presence in our world

Girls in STEM

WATCH: Ms. Houck's TEACHER FEATURE

WATCH: Ms. Houck's TEACHER FEATURE

This week, we bring you a short video on a STEM'tastic educator! Scroll down to WATCH this educator doing what she does best - teachi

Videos

Cool Vid: 3D Printing for K-12 Education

Cool Vid: 3D Printing for K-12 Education

Watching super cool EDUCATIONAL videos from across the web is one of our favorite pastimes! Join us in learning more about 3D printing in the clas

Science and Math

'Tis the Season for STEM

'Tis the Season for STEM

'Tis the season for GINGERBREAD and working the delicious treat into your family - and CLASSROOM - fun. Last week, as students across the

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3D Printing Website Reports That 4D Printing is the Next Evolutionary Step

By Staff Writter

3D Printing Website Reports That 4D Printing is the Next Evolutionary Step

Science and Math

Recently, a 3D printing website reported that 3D printing is already starting to evolve into something 3D printing aficionados have wondered about: 4D printing. If you think 4D printing is impossible, it's really not out of the realms of becoming reality very soon. However, while it sounds like something completely different, it's still 3D printing, only with a sophisticated twist.

The difference is items printed off a 3D printer would be embedded with special coding so they can conform to different shapes to accommodate specific situations. This is already being developed at MIT through an architect by the name of Skylar Tibbits who leads a new program there on the advent of 4D printing.

Recently, they've developed some working prototypes for how 4D printing might work. And they're working with 3D company Stratasys so the integration with 3D printing equipment can be a smooth one.

What they're working on will amaze you in what the potentials are. Their first priority is developing 4D water pipes that can shape-shift to accommodate water flow rates and to help prevent issues from arising during natural disasters. This alone is something that could help cities on monumental levels, especially with aging water lines being an emerging issue.

Where else could 4D printing take us, though? It's almost as overwhelming in scope as 3D printing has been alone.

The Possibilities in the Military and Beyond

Reports are the military is already wanting to look into 4D printing and the possibilities of providing programmable materials. Having shape-shifting materials on military equipment could change the ballgame in how warfare is conducted. Regardless, 3D printing alone is recently producing parts for military jets and equipment that couldn't be done before while providing superior efficiency.

The fact that 4D printed materials can nearly act under its own accord during specific situations is mind-blowing in how it could change the functioning of everything. If it's truly implemented within a decade as some think it will be, every product we buy can be designed to be more efficient or adapt to certain weather.

This already provides efficiency for the consumer who will benefit just as much as the companies selling 4D printed items.

Yet, before 4D printing becomes mainstream, 3D printing still needs to be analyzed on its own quickly evolving developments. You can call 4D printing the next evolutionary step, even if a 4D title might confuse people on what it exactly means. Perhaps Programmable 3D Objects would be more suitable to help people visualize what the future might really look like.