News

Self-Assembly Lab: A peek into the brave new world of programmable materials

Tibbits has pioneered the field of 4D printing — that is, using 3D printers to create material that then transforms into a predetermined shape (TED Talk: The emergence of 4D printing). Now he’s shaking up the material world again by tackling a broader category, what he calls programmable materials, or “materials that can change shape according to instructions that are essentially programmed into them,” he explains. “We are finding ways to program every material — both ones we already use, like wood, leather and carbon fiber, and also newly invented materials.”

TED: A peek into the brave new world of programmable materials

Prof. Chris Magee: Study: Technological progress alone won’t stem resource use

Study: Technological progress alone won’t stem resource use.

IDC Principal Investigator Chris Magee, professor of the practice of engineering systems in MIT’s Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, recently published in the journal Technological Forecasting and Social Change. His research focuses on Jevons’ Paradox and the effect on consumer use of materials. His suggestion to reduce materials consumption and achieve a sustainable world: “What it’s going to take is much more difficult than just letting technological change do it,” Magee says. “Social and cultural change, people talking to each other, cooperating, might do it. That’s not the way we’re going right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do it.”

MIT News: Study: Technological progress alone won’t stem resource use.