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MIT Researcher Demos Self-Assembling Objects

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the grey-goo-scenario dept.

Printer 69

iONiUM writes "From the article: 'Many are only just getting their heads around the idea of 3D printing but scientists at MIT are already working on an upgrade: 4D printing. At the TED conference in Los Angeles, architect and computer scientist Skylar Tibbits showed how the process allows objects to self-assemble.' There could be many applications for this. Definitely a cool step forward." Pictures and video of the process.

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69 comments

Hasn't anyone watched SG-1 or Atlantis? (5, Funny)

TheRealQuestor (1750940) | about a year ago | (#43042793)

This cannot end well

Re:Hasn't anyone watched SG-1 or Atlantis? (2)

Ambassador Kosh (18352) | about a year ago | (#43042953)

What if we side with the replicators instead of those squishy human things?

I fully support the construction of replicators and all of the cool things that can be done with that. It would be pretty sweet if we could make self assembling cities. We could build entirely new cities that are VASTLY more efficient than the kinds of cities we use now. I would love to see the human race move to using arcologies.

Re:Hasn't anyone watched SG-1 or Atlantis? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43042963)

We could build entirely new cities that are VASTLY more efficient than the kinds of cities we use now.

Yep. Just get rid of all those stupid meatbags, and everything will be clean and tidy in no time.

Death to all humans!

Re:Hasn't anyone watched SG-1 or Atlantis? (2)

EdZ (755139) | about a year ago | (#43046557)

What if we side with the replicators instead of those squishy human things?

Uh, dude, human beings are already uncontrolled replicators. Green Goo flooded the planet a few billion years ago, followed not long after by Pink Goo. If we ever manage to (or even bother too, it's not a particularly efficient manufacturing method) create Grey Goo, it would have to beat off a lot of competition from existing replicators before it could start spreading.

Re:Hasn't anyone watched SG-1 or Atlantis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43043263)

or Wesley's science experiment on Star Trek for that matter.

Re:Hasn't anyone watched SG-1 or Atlantis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43045083)

Or Nobots [slashdot.org] (Hey, that's slashdot's own!)

Re:Hasn't anyone watched SG-1 or Atlantis? (2)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#43043565)

This is self-assembly, not self-replication. Think nitinol [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Hasn't anyone watched SG-1 or Atlantis? (1)

mcneely.mike (927221) | about a year ago | (#43044017)

Except they didn't self-assemble... it was the Sea Monkeys, i tell ya.

Watch the video... you can just see them with their little crowns. So cute...

Re:Hasn't anyone watched SG-1 or Atlantis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43048351)

Or the movie "Hardware"?

so its a sponge on a string? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43042813)

good luck with the investors, I have some self assembling robot animals to sell you

fluff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43043047)

I agree, it's all just fluff

"let's not call it telephone - let's call it realtime 2-way social vocal messaging!"

"oh look my soda's fizzing - it's, umm, 4D outgassing!"

Grey goo (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43042819)

I, for one, welcome our self-assembling overlords.

Re:Grey goo (-1, Redundant)

noobermin (1950642) | about a year ago | (#43042863)

Beat me to it. lol
As if it weren't coming I guess :/

Re:Grey goo (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43042939)

Ugh! I'm going to come! Damnit, I wanted to enjoy your pussy longer! This is all noobermin's pussy's fault!

Industrial Origami is way ahead (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#43042879)

Industrial Origami, Inc. [industrialorigami.com] is way ahead here. They have a set of techniques for designing punched sheet metal parts which then bend to fold up neatly into boxes or other desired forms. The folded surfaces bend precisely, even when bent by hand. The edges meet and lock together. I've folded up one of their electrical boxes, which comes as a flat sheet ready for hand folding.

It's all done with clever design and finite element analysis to get the bend points to behave in a repeatable way. What they sell is design software for doing this.

Re:Industrial Origami is way ahead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43042905)

Automatic forming, not hand forming.

Re:Industrial Origami is way ahead (1, Offtopic)

fishybell (516991) | about a year ago | (#43043339)

Yes, they got their shit together, but people and machines still have to bend that shit. MIT's shit bends itself.

Re:Industrial Origami is way ahead (4, Informative)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | about a year ago | (#43044143)

I've been watching videos of this tech for the past 20 minutes. Most are just CGI concepts of a certain folding product. Those that have been actually filmed, are heavily edited, with cuts after each fold, some are also accelerated 4x.

Something tells me this tech doesn't work as well as they say it does.

Nothing is as fishy as not showing at least one honest video with no editing of the actual product.

Re:Industrial Origami is way ahead (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year ago | (#43044659)

Computer controlled metal bending has been around for decades. Over 20 years ago when I was at Disney the contractors were using a computer bender for rebar. The auto industry was the first to use computer bending on a large scale. What's new is using heat from lasers to bend the parts. Yeah the videos have been sped up 3X or 4X but it seemed to work quite well. Heat bending plastic can be a bit of an art form so I would question what the reject rate is like? The biggest downside a lot of these processes have is speed. It's like printing a car body. If you've got to tie up a multi million dollar machine for weeks to print a car it's just a toy and has no commercial value. Until the can produce one in a similar time frame to current production lines it's pointless. The technology won't get a lot faster due to the physics of heating and depositing plastics so going to expensive multihead machines is the only option. Laser cutters and benders have similar issues since above a certain temperature the plastics and metals will distort and burn.

Re:Industrial Origami is way ahead (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | about a year ago | (#43052233)

Dude, read the GP post. I was replaying to a guy regarding "Industrial origami", a system to design metal pieces that can be bended into shape by hand.

I used to do something similar with aluminum and a CNC machine, but it was never that easy to bend ...

Re:Industrial Origami is way ahead (1)

jadv (1437949) | about a year ago | (#43045503)

I've been watching videos of this tech for the past 20 minutes. Most are just CGI concepts of a certain folding product. Those that have been actually filmed, are heavily edited, with cuts after each fold, some are also accelerated 4x.

Something tells me this tech doesn't work as well as they say it does.

Nothing is as fishy as not showing at least one honest video with no editing of the actual product.

Do you imply that these people took a cue from the Iran government reporting on their newly developed stealth military plane?

Re:Industrial Origami is way ahead (1)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#43047289)

Something tells me this tech doesn't work as well as they say it does.

I handled and hand-folded some of their flattened-out parts when they were making a pitch for VC funding at a conference. It's quite striking. Things fold easily where they're supposed to, and click together neatly. It's easier than assembling cardboard boxes that come as flats.

If you wanted self-assembly, you could add sections of nitinol (the shape-memory metal) and use them to power the assembly.

4D printing? (5, Insightful)

a_hanso (1891616) | about a year ago | (#43042881)

Unless you're printing into the past and future, how is this 4D?

Re:4D printing? (2)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about a year ago | (#43042931)

Please wake me up when we reach 5D

Re:4D printing? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43043203)

this message is from the future - and we did

Re:4D printing? (1)

Jawnn (445279) | about a year ago | (#43044837)

Please wake me up when we reach 5D

5D is so pedestrian. My D goes all they way up to eleven.

Re:4D printing? (2)

frglrock (992261) | about a year ago | (#43043159)

Well apparently that's sort-of the idea. From TFA:

"We're proposing that the fourth dimension is time and that over time static objects will transform and adapt," he told the BBC.

Re:4D printing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43043905)

Except it doesn't print over time and after the printing stops its just a flexible spongy(?) 3d object. Time is also not the thing that transforms it, water is.

You don't call light bulbs 4d because you can switch it on at a later time.

Re:4D printing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43043187)

They take inspiration from nature and biology e.g. folding proteins to create regularly 3D-printed "parts" of different types that can interact over time (hence the 4th D) and transform into complex or useful structures.

At least that's what I took away from a cursory scan of the one of TFAs. TBH it seems a forced naming attempt for media consumption.

Re:4D printing? (1)

azalin (67640) | about a year ago | (#43043691)

Unless you're printing into the past and future, how is this 4D?

Web 2.0 ...
Because it sounds "cool" for the masses, even though it makes anyone actually in the field cringe.

Re:4D printing? (1)

fatphil (181876) | about a year ago | (#43045169)

Because it was said by someone in marketting?

If only it could print a gun so that they could kill themselves.

Re:4D printing? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#43047591)

You are talking about forth Dimensionalism. There are other reference to '4-D'

For example:
Lets say you are looking at a circle. The circle could be the end of a 3 dimensional object, a cylinder.
A 4 D object you would be looking at a cylinder with a curved end.

What are the natural properties of non living things?
Heights, width, and depth..and now self assembly.

Re:4D printing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43049451)

I assume they mean 4 spatial dimensions, rather than spacetime.

Re:4D printing? (1)

saveferrousoxide (2566033) | about a year ago | (#43161049)

yeah, it's kind of stupid. they seem to think that because the object they are printing can be reconfigured, they are printing across time and space. I guess I have a 4D camera tripod...who knew.

We don't have a problem building things (2)

kawabago (551139) | about a year ago | (#43042921)

What we need are things that clean up after themselves. This machine will bury us in leggo!

Re:We don't have a problem building things (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43047609)

Leggo [leggos.com.au] ? Yum!

Skylar Tibbits + Networked Robots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43042951)

Skynet...

First Demo. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43042957)

GOD Demos Self-Assembling Objects

FTFY

Re:First Demo. (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#43043299)

I guess it was rather the self-assembling objects that demoed god, but let's not descend into petty hen and egg discussions.

Solves the 'no US manufacturing' post's problem (1)

MikeTheGreat (34142) | about a year ago | (#43043193)

Just earlier today I read on Slashdot that MIT is having trouble scaling up manufacturing here in the US (http://news.slashdot.org/story/13/02/28/2149244/when-its-time-to-scale-us-manufacturing-hits-a-wall) - it looks like they're already working on a solution :)

The genius of Neil Stephenson (1)

SlashDread (38969) | about a year ago | (#43043197)

The Diamond Age is dawning,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Diamond_Age [wikipedia.org]

Re:The genius of Neil Stephenson (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about a year ago | (#43045403)

Great book. IMHO better than Snow Crash. Never did get the weird cult elements though.

Re:The genius of Neil Stephenson (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#43047615)

Great book? no. good book, at best. The ending is weak, and they don't apply easily accessible technology to all areas.

For one example: They have nanites that can clean out other nanites. So her brother never should have gotten ill.

Snow Crash also has sever plot holes and really weak ending.

Re:The genius of Neil Stephenson (1)

drkim (1559875) | about a year ago | (#43052893)

Snow Crash also has sever plot holes and really weak ending.

Wow really?

What book that included VR chat-rooms and anti-virus software did YOU write back in 1992?

Viagra nano bots inside the pill (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43043217)

"FOREVER ALONE!" - cries my right hand

Basic test to qualify as a 4D printer... (3, Insightful)

Y.A.A.P. (1252040) | about a year ago | (#43043273)

Assemble a tesseract.

If it can't do that, it's not a 4D printer, it's just hype about a different 3D printing method.

Re:Basic test to qualify as a 4D printer... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43043309)

Oh that's easy.

You have to pulverize obsidian and smelt it with lead to get hardened glass, then assemble tin, hardened glass, and diamonds to get the tesseract frame. Then you have to melt down some ender pearls and fill the frame with the molten ender to get an unattuned tesseract. Then you pile in a servo, some silver ingots, and some lead, copper, tin, or electrum ingots to round out the exact tesseract you need.

Wait... you were talking about Minecraft mods, weren't you? No? Damn...

(And in case you're still struggling with figuring out WTF I'm talking about: clicky thing [wikispaces.com] .)

The Art of being an Editor (1)

ixarux (1652631) | about a year ago | (#43043297)

I like how it ends with - "Definitely a cool step forward." Have we reached a state where summaries, in their attempt to be succinct, end up (rather ironically) stringing together meaningless superfluities which give us no real information?

Ok, I don't get it (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#43043311)

so... umm... you create some stick that warps in a certain way when you put it into water... mmmhmmm... I swear I remember I had something like that as a toy when I was a kid...

Could anyone shed some light onto what is so special about that?

MIT - not interested anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43043783)

Is it me or is that whole DOJ a total turn off for anything related to MIT for everyone?

I can't count the number of people who say they have stopped reading anything and everything related to MIT as a sort of silent protest.

Just not interested Slashdot, MIT please.. just go away.

Re:MIT - not interested anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43044309)

MIT has been irrelevant for a long time now, and not just in journal space. I've interviewed three new MIT grads with glowing resumes, high GPAs, and wonderful recos from their profs, only to get them on site and discover they were dumbasses.

One of the things MIT does to "help" undergrads is let them observe research and do some trivial tasks and get their name in the author space on journals MIT gets published. The kids have no idea what the paper is about, but they get to say they're "published" on their resumes.

It doesn't help much when you ask a kid in an interview to explain what they did to get name space on a paper and all they could come up with was building a PC or helping write a report or putting together some trivial little applet to format data into CSV for excel.

mod 0p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43043893)

errors. F0bture I more. If you feel obvious that there interest in having corpse turned over 'superior' machine. won't vote in = 36400 FreeBSD for the project.

Terminator (1)

Stormthirst (66538) | about a year ago | (#43044195)

computer scientist Skylar Tibbits

In my slightly sleep deprived state, I read that as Skynet. Funny what your brain picks up on .

Third Person Present - Demoes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43044273)

The Third Person Present conjugate of the verb "to demo" is "he/she demoes."

Self dis-assembling furniture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43044383)

"It might also herald an age of self-assembling furniture" Cool stuff! Now Ikea can sell furniture that doesn't just self DIS-assemble.

Clever but limited (2)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year ago | (#43044685)

Curious how they are setting memory into plastics as they are formed? They are obviously using hot water baths to allow the materials to reorganize. I can see some uses like folded parts but really it's not self assembly. This is self bending.

Can we get it big enough to print a house? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43046329)

http://www.math.union.edu/~dpvc/courses/2010-11/mth053-fa10/assignments/crooked-house.pdf

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