Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Assembly Not Required

PostedOctober 6, 2013

Download File (mp3)

Anchor Lead: They are dreaded words on the outside of a box: “Assembly Required.” But it might not be long before products assemble themselves.

Randy Atkins: Instead of spending your weekend building a new purchase from box full of parts…imagine gathering those pieces together, providing a bit of energy…a shake, a little heat or electricity…

Skylar Tibbits: …and then they can start to connect to one another. And if you guide them in connecting in the right ways, you can have the parts assemble themselves and assemble a highly precise structure.

Randy Atkins: Skylar Tibbits, an architect and computer scientist at M-I-T, is engineering materials pre-programmed to change shape and interact in very specific ways…and he’s not aiming small.

Skylar Tibbits: Self-assembly is a phenomenon that we see at nano and micro scales predominantly in biology and chemistry or material science, but we’re trying to use that as a technology for manufacturing construction, more the industrial sector.