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What comes after 3D printing? 4D printing, of course

Just as it was with shaving blades… where it seemed the only way was up… now that 3D printing is truly taking off, we've come across 4D printing.

This is actually a simple way of saying: shape-shifting products.

Products whose shape changes in a further dimension: time.

This is how driverless cars will be: 

  1. You'll hail a car/driverless cab/indicate thru an Uber-like interface (which could be driven by some mind reading device)
  2. When it comes, thanks to some sort of digital recognition system (a mobile cookie, related to the device you hailed the cab from, or perhaps a facial or fingerprint or eye recognition system), it will realise that it's you, how tall you are, what shape your body is… and morph to that shape
  3. Or, perhaps it will simply "see" you, and "feel" you as you get in and sit down, and morph around you that way 

There are plenty of other uses. Your phone, of course, could change into a shape to indicate what mode it's in: one shape for telephone calls, one shape to fit in your pocket, one shape when it's a camera.

BMW is talking about 4D printing in its next 100 years touring exhibition.

Turns out there's a TED talk on this.

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