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Expert Interview: Skylar Tibbits, MIT
March 18, 2013
1)Tell us a little bit about yourself, your academic background, how you got into 3-D printing, etc.
The idea of 3-D printing came out of frustration with the limits of code, and design, and assembly as I was doing a lot of experimental sculptures. At MIT, I learned about robotics and self-assembly systems. Then we were able to digital fabricate things, yet we still had to assemble everything by hand.
I have been designing physical self-assembly systems for the past 5 years but it always required the addition of magnets, springs or other sources of potential energy. Recently, I began talking to Stratasys and asking them if there was a way to streamline the assembly process further. I was looking for ways to embed more dynamic materials into what I was designing/printing.
2)Why 4-D Printing and why now?
3)What can you tell us about the process and materials you use for your 4-D printing? Relatively speaking, is it a low-cost process?
4)What type of market does your concept of printing best fit into?
5)Where do you see the future of these advanced types of printing going in the next 5-10 years?
Self-Assembly Lab director, Skylar Tibbits, is a trained Architect, Designer, Computer Scientist and Artist whose research focuses on developing self-assembly technologies for large-scale structures in our builtl environment. Skylar is currently a faculty member in MIT's Department of Architecture, teaching graduate and undergraduate design studios and co-teaching How to Make (Almost) Anything, a seminar at MIT's Media Lab. Skylar was recently awarded a TED2012 Senior Fellowship, a TED2011 Fellowship and has been named a Revolutionary Mind in SEED Magazine's 2008 Design Issue. Previously, he has worked at a number of renowned design offices including: Zaha Hadid Architects, Asymptote Architecture and Point b Design. He has designed and built large-scale installations around the world, including locations in New York, Philadelphia, Paris, Calgary, Berlin, Frankfurt, Long Beach, Edinburgh and Cambridge. He has also exhibited work at prestigious institutions, including; The Guggenheim Museum NY, the Beijing Biennale, Storefront for Art and Architecture and lectured at MoMA and SEED Media Group's MIND08 Conference. He has been published extensively online and in print outlets such as the New York Times, Wired, Nature, Fast Company, various peer-reviewed journals and books including: Fabricate: Making Digital Architecture, Digital Architecture, Testing to Failure, Scripting Cultures and Form + Code. As a guest critic, Skylar has visited schools around the world including; The University of Pennsylvania, The Institute for Computational Design, The Architectural Association, Pratt Institute and Harvard's Graduate School of Design.
Skylar graduated from Philadelphia University with a 5 yr. Bachelor of Architecture degree and minor in experimental computation. Continuing his education at MIT, he received a Masters of Science in Design + Computation and a Masters of Science in Computer Science under the guidance of advisors; Patrick Winston, Neil Gershenfeld, Erik Demaine and Terry Knight.
Skylar is also the founder and principal of a multidisciplinary architecture, art and design practice, SJET LLC. Started in 2007 as platform for experimental computation and design, SJET has grown into a research-based practice crossing disciplines from architecture, design, sculpture, fabrication, computer science, toys to robotics.