What will really serve 4D printing in the future?

Impression-4Dhe concept is intellectually interesting. Printed 3D an object that magically turns then “in shape”. A challenge for researchers, but past laboratory demonstrations, what will be truly the applications of this approach?
Forst & Sullivan analysts looked at the issue and deliver the results of their reflection on the impact of printing 4 d here to 2019.

4 key markets for 4d printing

From 2012, the team of the Self - Assembly Lab, Skylar Tibbits at the MIT presented a model of auto-deployable protein.

From 2012, the team of the Self – Assembly Lab, Skylar Tibbits at the MIT presented a model of auto-deployable protein.

Strength of their analytical approach on 9 dimensions, Forst & Sullivan analysts have sought to identify the most promising printing 4 d applications in the future. Remember that 4 d printing, production of objects that will assemble themselves. The approach was one of the media when the MIT Self Assembly Lab presented its first results in collaboration with the Publisher Autodesk and Stratasys 3D printer manufacturer.

For Frost and Sullivan, 4 markets are going to be directly impacted by this new approach in the coming years: the health sector, automotive, aerospace and defence. Analysts point out that the American defense already unlocked credits in various universities of the country in order to advance these technologies. They see three direct applications. On the one hand the development of new textiles of camouflage “chameleons”, that can adapt to their environment, auto-reparants, particularly for bridges and temporary roads materials or again, it requires more imagination, made shelters in… water.


The timetable for appearance of products printed in 4 d, according to analysts at Frost & Sullivan.

The arrival of these auto-reparants materials will impact many industries. Aviation is of course in demand for this type of materials. A plane which, after damage in combat, would repair itself in flight in order to rally its base is the most obvious use. The satellite which, after cashing the impact of space debris restores the damaged Panel cel made a lot of sense. As well as printing 4 d is potentially a way to develop lighter solar panel for these satellites, which may be deployed without the help of mechanisms and other electric motors.
The automotive sector could benefit from printing 4 d including to review its parts manufacturing processes. This technique opens the door to new manufacturing method for complex metal parts, certain body parts could be produced as well.
Finally, the medical sector is a possible outlet for printing 4 d. Design of nanoparticles, nanobots or even of biomaterials that will self-assemble in our body, the still many tracks are possible.

A revolution of printing 4 d, but not before 2018

The fashion sector and deco could well be the first to market products

The fashion sector and deco could well be the first to market products “4 d” (Source: agonistica)

Frost & Sullivan analysts have tried to draw up a timetable for the arrival of these new technologies. The fashion world may well be the first to take up printing 4 d to innovate. Analysts expect the arrival of products ‘4 d’ by 2016. Nevertheless it is between 2017 and 2018 that the revolution of printing 4 d should begin to impact our daily lives with consumer electronics, smart sensors, medical applications, etc. For the auto-reparantes cars, artificial organs, space vehicles, it would be 2019… at best.

Sources :

“Frost & Sullivan: 4-D Printing to Usher in Age of Low-Labor, Fast-Paced Product Manufacturing”, Frost & Sullivan press release, August 12, 2014

“4D Printing: The Future”, Agonistica , November 29, 2013

“The U.S. Army Is Investing In 4D Printing, Expect Craziness Like Self-Altering Camo”, TheCreatorsProject/Vice, Octobre 9, 2013

“Biology is the new software”, Wired, October 8, 2013

“‘4D-printed’ materials will adapt to stimuli”, Harvard School of Engineering, September 30, 2013

“4D-printing: from self-assembling chairs to cancer-fighting robots”, TheGuardian, April 10, 2013

“4D printing: The new frontier”, ZDNet, March 14, 2013

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