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Imagine buying a dress online that takes shape in front of your eyes in your living room.Scientists are developing 4D printing technology to pave way for ‘smart’ materials that can change shape by themselves.

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SCIENCE:THE HINDU(27TH MAY)4-D printing to allow for shape-changingmaterials3-D and 4-D printing can change lifestyles.Imagine buying a dress online that takes shape in front of your eyes in your livingroom.Scientists are developing 4D printing technology to pave way for smartmaterials that can change shape by themselves.Researchers are combining differenttypes of plastics and fibres to create smart materials that change shape when theycome into contact with stimuli such as heat or water.Objects designed in this way canexpand, fold or unfurl into predesigned forms after being printed, in a process dubbed4D printing, The Times reported.Skylar Tibbits, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is pioneering theresearch with Stratasys, a digital manufacturing company.We asked if we could print things that change shape and change properties to behavein precise programmed ways. We call it 4D because it adds time [considered thefourth dimension], rather than printing static objects, Tibbits said.Jesse Louis-Rosenberg, from Nervous System design studio in Somerville,Massachusetts, said he hoped to use 4D printing to create a dress that could be printedin compact form then unfolded.Using a scan of the customers body, the dress couldbe designed to fit perfectly and would be created with a series of tessellatingsegments.A computer model would then compress the design into the smallestpossible space to fit inside a normal 3D printer. T

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