InfoChemistry And Self-Folding Origami

The Programmable Matter program at DARPA seems to be coming right along. The intent of the program is to have material that can form itself into a variety of three-dimensional objects on command. DARPA calls this idea InfoChemistry - building information directly into materials.

One approach described as "self-folding origami" created by machines that use specialized sheets of material with built-in actuators and data. These machines use cutting-edge mathematical theorems to fold themselves into virtually any three-dimensional object.


(Self-folding origami)

Today's generation of sf fans probably think of robots like the T-1000 series shape-shifting mimetic alloy "robots". Take a look at a rather striking video from the current Sarah Connor Chronicals.


(T-1000 series shape-shifting mimetic alloy robot)

I guess I'm hoping that DARPA's engineers will show a little restraint in their design functionality for "InfoChemistry".

There are several older examples from sf for this concept, and I can't find them. I believe one involves what amounts to a multi-tool that just looks like a bar of metal; you slap it in different ways and it reforms its shape into a variety of simple tools. Readers? It's driving me crazy. Update: 21-Oct-2016: Found it! The first time I read about the idea of a shape memory alloy was in Samuel R. Delany's 1966 novel Babel-17; see the entry for tensile memory polarized matter. End update.

However, what is probably the root of the idea is the "shape memory effect" seen in particular metals in the late 1930's.

Readers might also think of the Replicators from Stargate (see Stargate Replicator video).

Read about more techniques at Programmable Matter Research Solidifiesl thanks to Moira for the tip and resources.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/11/2009)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 5 )

Related News Stories - (" Material ")

New Paper - Write With Light Erase With Heat
Writing with light, erasing with heat.

Reconfigured Graphene 10X Strong, 5 Percent Dense, As Steel
'...It was made of Alohydrolium, which is the lightest of all metals.' - Hugo Gernsback, 1911.

MIT's aeroMorph Technology
'... It falls into that structure like a rubber figure returning to shape.' - Samuel R. Delany, 1966.

Russia's Protective Ferrite Fabric
'His suit-shield sucked in the energy and discharged it...'- Philip K. Dick, 1954.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

PassivDom 3D Printed House - What If You Could Live Anywhere?
'The houses are prefabricated units...'

Breakthrough In Manufacture Of Red Blood Cells
This blood's for you!

Caihong Solar-Powered Drone 'Atmospheric Satellite'
'... placed in the wings of a plane to generate power from the light falling on that surface.'

NASA Wants Low Earth Orbit Wifi
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'

Is Genetic Testing At Businesses A Bad Idea?
It's not a topic that fares well in science fiction movies-

Wearable Smart Jacket
He pressed the button in his sleeve communicator and snapped: 'Action stations!'

Store One Bit On One Atom
'...each individual molecule has a meaning.'

Fluorescent Bacteria Fashion
'The racks of gowns itched and quivered, their colors running into blurred pools.'

Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.'

When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...'

LipNet Reads Lips - Until Disconnected, That Is
'We'd have to cut his higher brain functions... I'm not sure what [HAL} would think about that.'

Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'

Wearable MRI Is Former Occulus/Facebook Exec's New Project
'Your cephalochromoscope... that you always turn on and play when you get home...'

Ford Stratasys Infinte Build 3D Printer
'He proudly indicated his Buick... Almost as good as the original it was printed from...'

The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
'Darn clever, these suits...'

Dune Fans! Your God Emperor Is Ready
'If one held a sandtrout in the hand, smoothing it over your skin, it formed a living glove.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.