And as 3D printing, though still in its infancy, continues to forge new paths in the world of emerging technology, 4D printing, an evolution of 3D printing, too has been making news. While 3D printing allows us to print static objects, 4D printing allows dynamic materials to self-assemble into different shapes after they have been printed, or to evolve over time in response to their environment. Although, the technology might take four to five years time to be applied on a commercial scale, it is indeed set to change the 3D printing landscape. Undoubtedly, materials will play a key role in 4-D printing and will radically change the value chain of the printing industry. Stratasys’s announcement of a partnership with Graphene Technologies to "develop Graphene-enhanced 3D printing materials" only substantiates this forecast.
One dramatic surgery made worldwide news in 2012 when an 83-year old Belgian woman with oral cancer had her jaw replaced by a tailor-made, 3D printed titanium mandible in what can be called a first-of-its-kind surgical transplant. Metal-focused additive manufacturer LayerWise from Belgium used a method developed by a surgical team from Belgium’s Hasselt University to create the fake jaw. Titanium, a well known material in the medical implant industry because of its biocompatibility, was powdered and then printed out layer by layer.