VIDEO: 4D printed structures change shape

Posted at 7:17 AM, Jan 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-28 07:56:25-05

Move on over 3D printing, because 4D printing is taking the spotlight. 

(WATCH FULL VIDEO BELOW, transformation near end of clip)  

Scientists at Harvard University created a new 4D printing method— where their prints actually shift shape. 

The transformation happens when these structures are submerged in water.

Scientists note the hydrogel composite ink that makes up the prints has an encoded pattern.That pattern containing various swelling properties produces detailed shape changes when water is introduced.

These structures were inspired by the natural movements of plants according to the Wyss Institute at Harvard University. 

Researchers say this method could be applied using a wide range of materials with different properties—so there are many applications.