Programmable Matter #A2Z Challenge



Today is April 18th which marks the “P” day in the A2Z challenge. According to my theme I’m supposed to write about a “technology that can change the world as we know it“. Today’s post would be a technology that can actually have an Earth-Shattering effect on our world.

Programmable Matter


Some days ago, I wrote about the “Kitchen of the Future” and in that post there was the term “Claytonics”. Claytronics are – for those who didn’t read the other post – very small robots who can cooperate together to create any shape. Claytronics are one aspect of what we call “Programmable Matter“. Programmable Matter is like claytronics but on a very very smaller scale, The Atomic Scale.

Imagine that you are wearing a pair of shoes and you got a new shirt. You want those shoes to match the color of the shirt so instead of buying a new pair you just program the shoes materials to change the color property to a new color. Imagine that you and your wife are sitting on separate chairs and you wanted to be next to her so you just send a command to the chairs particles to combine and take the form of a comfortable sofa. Imagine that you are driving your car and you decided you want to have some fresh air in the local lake. You just program the car’s particles to convert to a small boat’s model then VOILA you’re enjoying the lake. We can imagine millions and billions of both simple and very complex uses of programmable matter. So, when we can have this AWESOME technology? A hundred years? Maybe not that much

Although the research of “Programmable Matter” is still in its very early stages, there are some already working prototypes of it. A team in MIT developed some sort of ‘smart sand’ that can assume any shape, allowing spontaneous formation of new tools or duplication of broken mechanical parts. J Fraser Stoddart’s group at UCLA has been developing molecules that can change their electrical properties. Researchers at MIT invent a new approach to assembling big structures — even airplanes and bridges — out of small interlocking composite components.

Want more? Here are a couple of videos to show you more of this amazing technology

More MIT research in Programmable Matter

Now imagine how it would be like if we combined Programmable Matter technology with a “Brain Computer Interface“. You can just think about the command and the programmable matter take the action immediately. How cool is that?


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