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4-D Printing Project

Description: The movement is spearheaded by a guy named Skylar Tibbits, a researcher in MIT's architecture department. The idea is this: You used 3-D printers to print out smart materials that can shape or assemble themselves. The concept is still in its infancy, but Citi says this could help people build stuff in extreme conditions, or allow medical devices to construct themselves once they're implanted. "Utilizing a 3-D printer to build the object layer by layer, intelligence can be imprinted directly into the actual structure [via more rigid or flexible materials] dictating the transformation and the eventual shape of the object." Insane stat: The U.S. Army recently contributed $855,000, split among Harvard, the University of Illinois, and the University of Pittsburgh to help advance projects focused on 4-D printing.