Researchers at North Carolina State University have discovered a remarkably simple and flexible way to make self-assembling objects, using just inkjet ink and “pre-stressed sheets of plastic” (that is Shrinky Dinks to those of you following along at home). By printing bold lines on the flat sheet of plastic, and exposing it to a heat lamp, the portions printed black heat up faster, and shrink more, causing the plastic to bend in predictable ways. The result is rapid and replicable self-assembly into 3D objects. It ought to be a simple thing to replicate at home – I wonder what a self-assembling robot frame would look like… From On the Verge.
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