Filed under: Computers
While they aren’t full-blown ‘Transformers,’ ultra-thin smart sheets developed by MIT and Harvard researchers could pave the way for machines that fold into different shapes. According to Popular Science, the fiberglass sheets, which are made from .5-inch wide, .5-millimeter thick, triangular tiles, are dubbed ‘programmable matter.’ The researchers equipped the smart sheets with ultra-thin, shape-memory strips that are equipped with stickers containing circuits and algorithms, which, in turn, correspond with certain folding techniques. When electricity is applied, the strips heat up and change shape, thus spurring the stickers into action. (Check out the video after the break.) Think of it as high-tech origami.
For now, researchers have programmed these shape-shifting smart sheets to fold into small boats and airplanes. But their sights are set on real-world applications, like creating a complete dining room utensil set from smart sheets. Sure, giant transforming cars would be great, but we’d just love to see one of these dragons fold itself. [From: Popular Science]