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3D printing is so 2012. Scientists are now doing 4D printing. [Video]

4dprint [1]

3D printing is still in its early stages, and most of us probably won’t be getting one anytime soon. Despite how awesome (and cheap) some of them may be [2]. But science waits for no one, and in a recent TED appearance, Skylar Tibbits of MIT showed off what scientists have dubbed “4D printing.”

The fourth dimension, as you might already know, is time. According to Tibbits, “The printing is nothing new… It is about what happens after.” To demonstrate this, they added water to thin strands of plastic that eventually form into predetermined shapes. In the future, this can be applied to things like furniture, vehicles and even in the construction of buildings (with material that’s not plastic anymore of course).

Engadget’s Brian Heater probably paints the most exciting picture for 4D printing in the future: “In the future, you might not have to assemble that Ikea chair yourself.” Sold! Check it out at the video below:

[via BBC [3], Engadget [4]]