Have we managed to capture your attention? Have we managed to impress you? You will see when you read what follows, it will be even better.
It is nothing more and nothing less than the creation of intelligent objects through a conventional 3D printer. It seems easy? It is not really, the interesting thing is not the machine but the raw material it uses. Researchers have succeeded producing a synthetic material able to storing forms and change from one environment to another after being programmed.
An example would be to print a 3D object designed to be able to self-modify upon contact with water. We could make a 3D design in a flat platform that when wetted is folded and transformed into a box. In plumbing, this would very useful for pipelines which could be regulated by the water flow and for parts that can be able to self-repair. Surely you can think of 10 things right now to do with 3D printing.
The strange thing is that none of the 2 technologies are novel, 3D printers are known for years, and also expanding materials. For a long time ago it has been aware of the existence of materials that change their shape depending on environmental conditions such as temperature, pressure or humidity changes. But by joining both technologies we can print in 3D using these materials achieving amazing results, objects that without any engine, ship, mother board or electronic device can get transformed.
This new discovery can transform the world drastically and see things from a totally different perspective. Engineering can change drastically, industry objects and devices are now able to transform and adapt to the environment, reinvent themselves and repair themselves.