A bunch of geniuses from Harvard, MIT and Worcester Polytechnic Institute are about to make your life a heck of a lot easier the next time you move into a new place. They've all been working together to develop flat-pack structures using shape memory polymers that can self-assemble into 3D structures when a charge is applied. Which means that one day assembling that Expedit bookshelf you got from Ikea could be as easy as plugging it in.
The researchers even designed flat structures with locking tabs and slots so the final assembled structures would have some level of stability and usability. So not only are we looking at a future without lengthy assembly instruction manuals, but also one that could be free of those annoying hex wrenches too.
But frustrations over furniture assembly wasn't the only thing that inspired the researchers to develop this technology. They also hope it can help further new manufacturing and fabrication techniques, and extend the capabilities of 3D printers and the type of structures and objects they can produce. [Chemistry World via PSFK]