4D Printed Objects Remember Their Shapes

Image: MIT
A team of researchers from MIT and Singapore University of Technology and Design have leveraged a novel form of 3D-printing to create objects that can be twisted and stretched almost beyond recognition, yet when heated to a certain temperature return to their original shape.

By Daniel Oberhaus | MOTHERBOARD

As the researchers detailed last week in Scientific Reports, their shape-memory objects could see a variety of applications outside the lab, including drug capsules that are triggered to release their contents when an infection is detected and solar panels that follow the sun.

“We ultimately want to use body temperature as a trigger,” said Nicholas X. Fang, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT. “If we can design these polymers properly, we may be able to form a drug delivery device that will only release medicine at the sign of a fever.”

To make this happen, the researchers made use of a cutting-edge 3D printing technique called microstereolithography, which uses light to print on ultra-thin layers of resin.

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