4D printing: Crazy concept or reality?

4D printing: Crazy concept or reality?

If you told someone that you can print something that can grow and change, they might laugh and call you crazy. Maybe you could in the future but not now. However, this may just be a possibility in the present day. 

In the tech world it is commonly known what 3D printing does. The printer takes digital blueprints and layer by layer, makes them into physical objects. However, 4D printing, now allows this process to go a step further.  

Depending on the materials that the objects have been printed out of, 4D printing enables them to grow and adapt. This means that they can change shape when exposed to the elements such as water, heat or wind.  

Although this is not commonly seen throughout offices or learning environments like 3D printers are, it is being tested in laboratories and there has been great success from these experiments so far. Shape memory alloys and electroactive polymers have been successful materials. Although an actual 4D printer does not currently exist, they are being developed and worked on.  

Imagine the benefits that could come from this kind of technology. You have a hole in your roof and all you’d need to fix it is something you could print and that would only need a little bit of water to grow. It sounds ludicrous but with the amazing technology we have at our disposable this is now a huge possibility and most likely is soon to be a reality.  

Author of original article: Bobby Hellard 

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