We first told you about 4D printing a few years ago, when we mentioned a TED Talk by MIT alum Skylar Tibbits, the pioneer of 4D printing.
So, where is 4D printing now?
We know that 3D printing has caught on, and with increasing availability of more affordable 3D printers it has become more accessible than ever. However, what about this next level of printing?
Here’s an update on 4D printing technology and what it means for the near future of office innovation.
What is 4D Printing?
Firstly, it’s important to note the difference between 3D printing and 4D printing.
Essentially, 4D printing is the ability to print 3D objects with the addition of time. As a result, the objects can be manipulated based on different stimuli. So, for example, 3D printing would be printing a cup. 4D printing would be if you printed a cup that could react to changes in temperature.
Therefore, both types of printing share the same techniques, but 4D printing takes 3D printing to another level.
How Could This Impact Our Working Lives?
A 4D printer could change office innovation because it could help to produce smarter materials that could improve on workplace productivity. Of course, there are many ways that 4D printing could impact lives outside of the workplace, such as disaster relief, health care, and more.
These technologies could impact many industries across the working world in a variety of ways, and we haven’t even begun to discover the extent to which it could change our lives.
It could even change the way your office is set up. Office furniture could change function to adapt to different people, changing shape to accommodate everyone comfortably.
How Far Into the Future Are we Stepping?
The truth is that 4D printing is still a ways away from becoming a household or office-level reality. 3D printing hasn’t caught on yet in a mainstream way, and 4D printing is undoubtedly going to have a high price tag when it does become available.
Right now your best investment is an efficient, high-functioning multifunction printer for your office. Multifunction printers aren’t going anywhere anytime soon and are reliable, affordable, and necessary for many offices.