Chalk another one up for the MIT ideas factory: ‘programmable matter‘ comprises sheets of composite material “edged by foil actuators – thin, solid-state motors – that contract or expand when they receive an electric current from flexible electronic circuits embedded in the sheets. After they achieve their preprogrammed shape, the sheets are held in place by tiny magnets on the edges of the fold joints.” [via SlashDot]
In other words, it’s automatic origami. Observe!
Clever stuff. I wonder how far up you could scale this phenomenon? It could make Ikea furniture much less of a headache to assemble, for a start… and Cisco’s city-in-a-box could really be supplied in a box.