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Printer Technology

MIT Researcher Demos Self-Assembling Objects 69

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the grey-goo-scenario dept.
iONiUM writes "From the article: 'Many are only just getting their heads around the idea of 3D printing but scientists at MIT are already working on an upgrade: 4D printing. At the TED conference in Los Angeles, architect and computer scientist Skylar Tibbits showed how the process allows objects to self-assemble.' There could be many applications for this. Definitely a cool step forward." Pictures and video of the process.
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MIT Researcher Demos Self-Assembling Objects

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  • by TheRealQuestor (1750940) on Friday March 01, 2013 @01:08AM (#43042793)
    This cannot end well
    • What if we side with the replicators instead of those squishy human things?

      I fully support the construction of replicators and all of the cool things that can be done with that. It would be pretty sweet if we could make self assembling cities. We could build entirely new cities that are VASTLY more efficient than the kinds of cities we use now. I would love to see the human race move to using arcologies.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        We could build entirely new cities that are VASTLY more efficient than the kinds of cities we use now.

        Yep. Just get rid of all those stupid meatbags, and everything will be clean and tidy in no time.

        Death to all humans!

      • you will become a borg then

        • We are borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. You will be assimilated.

          I actually like the idea of the borg collective. :)

      • by EdZ (755139)

        What if we side with the replicators instead of those squishy human things?

        Uh, dude, human beings are already uncontrolled replicators. Green Goo flooded the planet a few billion years ago, followed not long after by Pink Goo. If we ever manage to (or even bother too, it's not a particularly efficient manufacturing method) create Grey Goo, it would have to beat off a lot of competition from existing replicators before it could start spreading.

    • by Tablizer (95088)

      or the silver Terminator.

    • Movie: Hardware. Also Iggy and Lemmy.
    • by Hentes (2461350)

      This is self-assembly, not self-replication. Think nitinol [wikipedia.org].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2013 @01:15AM (#43042813)

    good luck with the investors, I have some self assembling robot animals to sell you

  • Grey goo (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I, for one, welcome our self-assembling overlords.

  • by Animats (122034) on Friday March 01, 2013 @01:31AM (#43042879) Homepage

    Industrial Origami, Inc. [industrialorigami.com] is way ahead here. They have a set of techniques for designing punched sheet metal parts which then bend to fold up neatly into boxes or other desired forms. The folded surfaces bend precisely, even when bent by hand. The edges meet and lock together. I've folded up one of their electrical boxes, which comes as a flat sheet ready for hand folding.

    It's all done with clever design and finite element analysis to get the bend points to behave in a repeatable way. What they sell is design software for doing this.

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by fishybell (516991)
      Yes, they got their shit together, but people and machines still have to bend that shit. MIT's shit bends itself.
    • by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <almafuerte@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Friday March 01, 2013 @08:37AM (#43044143)

      I've been watching videos of this tech for the past 20 minutes. Most are just CGI concepts of a certain folding product. Those that have been actually filmed, are heavily edited, with cuts after each fold, some are also accelerated 4x.

      Something tells me this tech doesn't work as well as they say it does.

      Nothing is as fishy as not showing at least one honest video with no editing of the actual product.

      • by Grayhand (2610049)
        Computer controlled metal bending has been around for decades. Over 20 years ago when I was at Disney the contractors were using a computer bender for rebar. The auto industry was the first to use computer bending on a large scale. What's new is using heat from lasers to bend the parts. Yeah the videos have been sped up 3X or 4X but it seemed to work quite well. Heat bending plastic can be a bit of an art form so I would question what the reject rate is like? The biggest downside a lot of these processes ha
        • Dude, read the GP post. I was replaying to a guy regarding "Industrial origami", a system to design metal pieces that can be bended into shape by hand.

          I used to do something similar with aluminum and a CNC machine, but it was never that easy to bend ...

      • by jadv (1437949)

        I've been watching videos of this tech for the past 20 minutes. Most are just CGI concepts of a certain folding product. Those that have been actually filmed, are heavily edited, with cuts after each fold, some are also accelerated 4x.

        Something tells me this tech doesn't work as well as they say it does.

        Nothing is as fishy as not showing at least one honest video with no editing of the actual product.

        Do you imply that these people took a cue from the Iran government reporting on their newly developed stealth military plane?

      • by Animats (122034)

        Something tells me this tech doesn't work as well as they say it does.

        I handled and hand-folded some of their flattened-out parts when they were making a pitch for VC funding at a conference. It's quite striking. Things fold easily where they're supposed to, and click together neatly. It's easier than assembling cardboard boxes that come as flats.

        If you wanted self-assembly, you could add sections of nitinol (the shape-memory metal) and use them to power the assembly.

  • 4D printing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by a_hanso (1891616) on Friday March 01, 2013 @01:32AM (#43042881) Journal

    Unless you're printing into the past and future, how is this 4D?

    • by Greyfox (87712)
      Well they ARE printing into the future!
    • Please wake me up when we reach 5D
    • by frglrock (992261)

      Well apparently that's sort-of the idea. From TFA:

      "We're proposing that the fourth dimension is time and that over time static objects will transform and adapt," he told the BBC.

    • by azalin (67640)

      Unless you're printing into the past and future, how is this 4D?

      Web 2.0 ...
      Because it sounds "cool" for the masses, even though it makes anyone actually in the field cringe.

    • by fatphil (181876)
      Because it was said by someone in marketting?

      If only it could print a gun so that they could kill themselves.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      You are talking about forth Dimensionalism. There are other reference to '4-D'

      For example:
      Lets say you are looking at a circle. The circle could be the end of a 3 dimensional object, a cylinder.
      A 4 D object you would be looking at a cylinder with a curved end.

      What are the natural properties of non living things?
      Heights, width, and depth..and now self assembly.

    • yeah, it's kind of stupid. they seem to think that because the object they are printing can be reconfigured, they are printing across time and space. I guess I have a 4D camera tripod...who knew.
  • by kawabago (551139) on Friday March 01, 2013 @01:39AM (#43042921)
    What we need are things that clean up after themselves. This machine will bury us in leggo!
  • Just earlier today I read on Slashdot that MIT is having trouble scaling up manufacturing here in the US (http://news.slashdot.org/story/13/02/28/2149244/when-its-time-to-scale-us-manufacturing-hits-a-wall) - it looks like they're already working on a solution :)
    • Great book. IMHO better than Snow Crash. Never did get the weird cult elements though.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Great book? no. good book, at best. The ending is weak, and they don't apply easily accessible technology to all areas.

        For one example: They have nanites that can clean out other nanites. So her brother never should have gotten ill.

        Snow Crash also has sever plot holes and really weak ending.

        • by drkim (1559875)

          Snow Crash also has sever plot holes and really weak ending.

          Wow really?

          What book that included VR chat-rooms and anti-virus software did YOU write back in 1992?

  • by Y.A.A.P. (1252040) on Friday March 01, 2013 @03:32AM (#43043273)

    Assemble a tesseract.

    If it can't do that, it's not a 4D printer, it's just hype about a different 3D printing method.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Oh that's easy.

      You have to pulverize obsidian and smelt it with lead to get hardened glass, then assemble tin, hardened glass, and diamonds to get the tesseract frame. Then you have to melt down some ender pearls and fill the frame with the molten ender to get an unattuned tesseract. Then you pile in a servo, some silver ingots, and some lead, copper, tin, or electrum ingots to round out the exact tesseract you need.

      Wait... you were talking about Minecraft mods, weren't you? No? Damn...

      (And in case you're s

  • I like how it ends with - "Definitely a cool step forward." Have we reached a state where summaries, in their attempt to be succinct, end up (rather ironically) stringing together meaningless superfluities which give us no real information?
  • so... umm... you create some stick that warps in a certain way when you put it into water... mmmhmmm... I swear I remember I had something like that as a toy when I was a kid...

    Could anyone shed some light onto what is so special about that?

  • ....and will happen again.
  • computer scientist Skylar Tibbits

    In my slightly sleep deprived state, I read that as Skynet. Funny what your brain picks up on .

  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Friday March 01, 2013 @10:19AM (#43044685)
    Curious how they are setting memory into plastics as they are formed? They are obviously using hot water baths to allow the materials to reorganize. I can see some uses like folded parts but really it's not self assembly. This is self bending.
  • "Break time is over, back to work. These Von Neumann machines won't make themse... oh, wait."
  • Towards a lifeless planet covered in a massive layer of self-replicating nano-dust. "The Mechanical Mice" from 1941: http://bookre.org/reader?file=283078 [bookre.org]
  • How long before this technology succumbs to Internet Rule 34? [urbandictionary.com]

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