3D printing technology is already amazing on its own, but imagine adding the ability for it to self-assemble. Imagine 3D printing materials that can become predetermined shapes from the influence of heat or other stimuli from its environment. Self-assembling objects, or 4D printing, can open up numerous new possibilities for 3D printed wearables as well as 3D printed shoes. Industrial designers see this as being the future of “active shoes.” They are both lightweight and can form perfectly to the exact size and shape of your foot.
The textile that was used was created by 3D printing plastic material in a variety of different thicknesses and in programmed patters onto stretched textiles. When the textile is released it reconfigures itself into the pre-programmed shape. Another addition of technology that can be applied to the products of 3DShoes.com and other companies supporting turning towards 3D printed footwear. This “minimal shoe” has a material that is translucent, lightweight, extremely malleable, that gives the shoe a space-age feeling.
It can be incredibly complex and inefficient to 3D print a shoe, so the minimal shoe reduced the number of parts that were required to be 3D printed. The technique will combine the 3D printed materials with other materials like leather and rubber to allow better customization of the shoes and faster production. Though the minimal shoe is still a work in progress, it already has a sportswear company showing interest in its production. We could very well soon see a 3D printed shoe such as this join the footwear industry.
Original Article: http://www.3ders.org/articles/20151103-mits-self-assembly-lab-3d-prints-shape-shifting-shoe.html