Hello, and welcome to the reboot of The Weekly Weinersmith, celebrating the paperback release of our book Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything.
In Chapter 5 of Soonish we discuss Programmable Matter.
Folks who study programmable matter want your things to be doing a lot more for you. They imagine materials that respond to their environment, tiny origami robots that assist in surgical procedures, and even buckets of stuff that can transform into just about anything you may desire.
One type of programmable matter is programmed materials. Programmed materials respond to something in their environment, like temperature or moisture, and transform themselves in some way.
For Soonish we interviewed Professor Skylar Tibbits from MIT about programmable materials, and discuss a 3D printed straw he created that, when exposed to water, would fold up into the letters “MIT”.
When doing some follow-up research to figure out who I should interview for this podcast episode, I ended up checking Skylar’s website to see what he has been up to since we interviewed him in June of 2016. And his lab has been up to some totally cool shit.
So in today’s episode we’re going to chat about just a subset of the tons of cool projects happening at MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab, which is the lab for which Professor Tibbits is the Founder and co-Director.
Soonish is available now in hardback and as an audiobook on Audible, and comes out in paperback on June 4 through Penguin Press in the US, and Particular Books is releasing a paperback version of the book in the UK this coming October.