2061: ClaytronicsMonday, December 19th, 2011 by Roberto Saracco
The fading boundaries between bits and atoms will be further pushed by a generalized use of claytronics (see a previous post on this technology).
This technology provides a way to build a variety of products using tiny beads that can auto assemble under specific commands sent wirelessly.
By 2061 it will impact the way products are being produced. Of course claytronics is just one way of doing it, more will be found in the coming 50 years.
Particularly we can expect to learn a lot by the growing understanding derived from embryology, where cells multiply and differentiate according to reaction to a local condition. It is not written anywhere in the DNA that the fertilized egg shall multiply several times to form a blastula exactly in the same space that is first occupied by the egg cell, nor that gastrulation should occur after a little while the blastula has formed, nor the subsequent neurulation…
All of this is the result of reaction to local condition. We are, today, far away in the capability of designing systems that can develop themselves based on local condition, but progresses are being made. It is a whole new science that once developed is likely to change several manufacturing paradigms.
Read this forecast taken by a post on the future:
Claytronics are revolutionising consumer products
Claytronics – also known as programmable matter – are now embedded in countless everyday items. This technology involves the manipulation of tiny devices known as catoms (claytronic atoms). Joined electrostatically, these work in concert to produce dramatic changes at the macroscale.
Objects featuring these catoms can be radically altered in form and function. Furniture can morph into new types, for instance. A bed could suddenly become a sofa, or a large table. Chairs can be instantly moulded to precisely suit the individual. Walls, carpets, ceilings, doors and other surfaces can modify their colour or texture on demand.
Electronic devices feature this exotic material. They can be highly adaptable to their environments, for instance – altering their structure to cope with dust and heat in a desert, then later shifting to resist humidity and moisture in a jungle, or even becoming completely waterproof. They can be personalised too: devices worn on the head or ears can mould themselves to fit the individual.
Many vehicles now make use of claytronics. Car surfaces can change colour at the touch of a button. Or they can self-heal: fixing bumps, scratches and other damage. Tyres can be instantly adapted for different terrain types or weather conditions. Transparent windows can be instantly blacked-out for privacy.
Claytronics are especially popular in children’s toys, with figures taking on astonishingly lifelike forms.
Various other everyday objects are now becoming highly configurable and morphable. Further into the future, claytronics will enable the creation of entire simulated humans.
Tags: Smart materials