3D printing (a.k.a., additive manufacturing) has lately been a hot theme in engineering and manufacturing, and it's still in its infancy. I've attended several product lifecycle management (PLM) and computer-aided design (CAD) conferences lately, and all had flashy displays from 3D printer providers, such as Stratasys or 3D Systems.
it plm books
wrap my head around it (see the TED Talk ). The big idea is to create objects that can change after they are printed, making them self-adapting, for example, after a material absorbs water and changes its properties. The act of printing is no longer the end of the creative process but merely a waypoint. For example, pipes could be developed to sense the need to expand or contract, or to pump water on their own. And if 4D printing could, say, eliminate potholes in cold climates, it would