All that stuff with machines printing layer upon layer of material to get a fully built product? Sooo last century! Forget about it!
Instead.. imagine a material that can rearrange itself to make a product. Instead of an external “machine” arranging material, let the material arrange itself! A bit like molecules you ask? Yes exactly!
All around us, objects and everything else is built up out of tiny particles that arrange themselves. Molecules, atoms etc.. Everything is made up out of particles. The same particles. But because they rearrange themselves into different structures, we perceive them as different things. They look different, smell different, feel different etc. The chair you sit on could be rearranged to make that cup you drink your coffee out of. Just by rearranging particles.
Now a crowd at (where else) MIT Massachusetts are doing research in making smart particles. They call it Smart Sand. Although the term might be a bit limiting as Sand doesn’t quite describe the limitless possibilities of the Smart “Material”.
The researchers have begun with making particles 10mm in size, Smart Pebbles they call them, that can rearrange themselves to test their theories.
This is very exciting and going in the right direction I think.
Let’s see how long it will take before we can chuck away those 3D printers and have the material sculpt itself!
People couldn’t imagine 20 years ago what we do with our Ipads and Smart phones. Just as we now can’t imagine what will happen in the next 20 years! It might just be the Smart Sand that is the thing that changes our way of living completely!