What if buildings could adapt their shape and form – without any other input from us? Architect Skylar Tibbits says 4D printing could make materials that build themselves.
The way we build our structures has become more and more sophisticated. But the materials we build them from are static, waiting for us to fit them to the required shape.
What if they could assemble themselves – and even change form if they needed to? The emerging technology of 4D printing
Starting in the second half of last year, 3-D printing startup MarkForged has been shipping the Mark One, a device it advertises as the world’s first 3-D printer that prints carbon fiber; The Mark One digitally fabricate objects in a material as light as plastic and as strong by some measures as aluminum. But one group isn’t about to receive its Mark One order: Defense Distributed, the non-profit political group that invented the first fully 3-D printed gun nearly two years ago.
Local Motors has unveiled the 3D-printed electric car it plans to sell next year. The design for the 2+2 coupe was chosen by the company’s crowdsourcing community from among 60 entries.
Built around a skateboard-style chassis that houses the drivetrain, battery, steering and suspension, the car features external speakers for the audio system, and removable front, rear and roof panels, which allow it to be switched between styles.
The composite chassis and body parts will be produced by a room sized “printer” that was developed in conjunction with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. An early version was demonstrated at the Detroit Auto Show in January, where it churned out the prototype Strati car.
The production version will be built at a facility in Knoxville, Tenn., but Local Motors hopes to add more locations in the coming years. It will initially be sold as a low speed neighborhood vehicle, with a price tag between $18,000-$30,000, but the company says that a highway legal version will be available by the end of 2016.
We dump around 8 million tons of plastic trash in the oceans each year, and that might quadruple in a decade. Now, as giant ocean cleanup devices start to sweep through the water in an attempt to collect some of that plastic, a handful of companies are figuring out how to use it to make new products—like shoes.
In June, Adidas released a design for a new sneaker with an upper knit from ocean plastic. Now the design has gone a step further, with a midsole that's 3-D printed from the same material.
The ultimate goal is a shoe that's 100% trash, and the company is almost there. "We’re close," says Eric Liedkte, Adidas Group executive board member of global brands. It's part of the company's overall sustainability strategy.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has opened the first 3D-printed office in the world.
As a result, the labour cost was cut by more than 50 percent compared to conventional buildings of similar size.
The full model took only 17 days to print after which the internal and external designs were adopted. The office was installed on site within two days, which is significantly faster than traditional construction methods.
The initiative comes as part of Dubai 3-D Printing Strategy, which aims to make Dubai a leading global centre of 3-D printing by 2030 with the technology responsible for 25 percent of all new buildings.