In a development that industrial designers everywhere have long been awaiting (or was it just me?), an MIT engineering group has finally created an ?intelligent plastic? that changes shapes based on exposure to different wavelengths of light. Although shape-changing plastics have been around since the late 90?s, previous smart plastics required the application of heat or electricity, a quality that limits the practical applications of the material. This new plastic, which can be transformed by light alone, has a wider array of practical applications in medicine, consumer devices, toys and sustainable design (since light is an inexpensive, efficient energy source). One particularly useful application seems to be in the healthcare field:
Imagine, for example, a “string” of plastic that a doctor could thread into the body through a tiny incision. When activated by light via a fiber-optic probe, that slender string might change into a corkscrew-shaped stent for keeping blood vessels open.
I can?t wait till this comes to market and I can finally start on my shape-shifting furniture collection!