Meet The Newest Way To Create: 4D Printing!

Photo source: Wyss Institute at Harvard University

Say goodbye 3D printing and hello to 4D!

Thanks to a team of innovative scientists at Wyss Institute and Harvard SEAS, you can now print and create transformable, 4D shapes by simply adding water (who knew?).

First, it prints out a shape using hydrogel ink which contains aligned cellulose fibrils. After it’s done printing, you then immerse it in good old H2O which then causes it to transform and swell. With the water reacting with the ink, the object begins to shape shift into beautiful designs due to the various patterns embedded on it.

This contraption takes an object from 3D to 4D by adding a fourth dimension: time. Researchers behind this amazing invention are hoping to take things to the next level by using this technology to generate a new kind of medical implants that will take their form after being inserted.

According to the researchers, their work was inspired by the way plants change their shape as they grow. The way they’re able to open/close in response to the change in the weather is caused by their complex tissues. Isn’t science awesome?!

You can check out their work and find out more behind this game-changing invention in the journal Nature Materials.