Boffins at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) have created exactly this: a bag of magic sand.
Put something into the bag, shake it and, the sand replicates the original object.
Sounds crazy, right?
Developed by the Distributed Robotics Laboratory (DRL) at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laborator, the sand isn’t normal sand. It’s been dubbed ‘smart sand’. In reality, it’s more like small robotic cubes.
A bag of smart sand is similar to a block of stone that a sculptor may begin with. It uses a subtractive method to determine what shape it needs to make and, then, the sand snaps together to form the required object.
Right now, it’s in its early stages of development. But the possibilities are fascinating.
Is it cooler than 3D printing?