4D printing that allows target items to “evolve” over time and some early pioneering work has been conducted by Harvard University




We were all impressed by 3D printing for a hot minute, but that’s all over now. Enter “4D printing,” the printing which also involves the fourth dimension: time. Applause, applause, applause. Scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard have developed hydrogel structures which change their shape when placed in water. In other words, they are able to respond to their environment (in this case, the water) the same way a plant does to its own environment: a sunflower bends toward the light, a vine climbs up a building for support, a pinecone spreads open, and so on.