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4-D printing

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Researchers from the MIT Self-Assembly Lab have developed a 4D-knit dress that uses “heat-activated yarn that allows its shape and fit to be altered in an instant,” reports Rima Sabina Aouf for Dezeen. Prof. Skylar Tibbits notes that by having “one dress that can be customized for fit and style, it can be perfectly tailored to the individual while being more sustainable and adaptable to changes in season, style or inventory.”

Fast Company

MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab collaborated with Swiss designer Christoph Guberan on a collection of 4D-printed “functional inflatable lamps, vases, and vessels,” which are now for sale at a New York gallery. “Rather than setting out to create a preconceived set of products, the resulting works were organically formed as an extension of the research process itself,” writes Aileen Kwun for Fast Company.


“MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab joined Italian design studio Wood-Skin to create the Programmable Table, which transitions from flat to fully built with a gentle tug,” writes Liz Stinson for Wired. The table is engineered with creases milled into the wood that act like hinges, allowing it to fold into an upright shape.

Researchers in the MIT Self-Assembly Lab has developed a self-assembling coffee table, reports Megan Turchi for The table “can go from the delivery box to the living room in a few seconds.” 

Boston Globe

Michael Andor Brodeur writes for The Boston Globe about how researchers in the MIT Self-Assembly Lab are working on developing products that can assemble themselves. “The lab’s work takes cues from nano-scale biological and chemical systems of self-assembly, but the fruit of its labors can be grown to serve any scale,” Brodeur writes. 


Liz Stinson reports for Wired on a self-assembling chair designed by researchers in the MIT Self-Assembly Lab. The project “is an investigation into how structures might be able to autonomously assemble in uncontrolled environments like water,” writes Stinson.


Nidhi Subbaraman writes for BetaBoston about the 3-D/4-D exhibition being presented at the MIT Museum. The displays are made up of 3-D printed materials that independently fold into new shapes.


"The idea here is to take existing material systems like fibres, sheets, strands and three-dimensional objects and program them to change shape and property on demand," says Skylar Tibbits, director of the Self Assembly Lab of his group’s new materials that can be programmed to transform autonomously. 

Bloomberg Businessweek

Bloomberg Businessweek features Skylar Tibbits’ research on self-assembling materials. By exposing specially engineered materials to heat, moisture or light, Tibbits demonstrates how they can assemble into useful components.

Smithsonian Magazine

In a piece for Smithsonian, Randy Rieland writes about how Skylar Tibbits’ Self-Assembly Lab has developed a new technique that could print responsive objects that are able to adapt and transform to their surroundings independently.