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Carnegie Mellon University Uses Heat to Instill Change in Objects

Researchers from the Morphing Matter Lab at Carnegie Mellon University are working with 4D-printed objects to create a technique that will allow for flat-pack furniture to be assembled with heat alone. So far, the project is in its early stages. The academics have figured out a way for small "4D-printed plastic objects [to] fold themselves into predetermined shapes when heated."

The project's name is 'Thermorph' and is based on what-is-considered a flaw in the 3D printing practice. The researchers have created three objects — a rose, a bot and a bunny, using an inexpensive FDM printer. The Morphing Matter Lab uses design-thinking to turn a flaw into an advantage, as it harnesses the activity of warpage — a defect in 3D that can occur after printing.

If the researchers can develop the 4D-printed objects, they have the potential of creating a highly innovative and no-stress furniture assemblage technique.