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Faculty Book

Active Matter

Skylar Tibbits (Editor)  |  September 2017

The past few decades brought a revolution in computer software and hardware; today we are on the cusp of a materials revolution. If yesterday we programmed computers and other machines, today we program matter itself. This has created new capabilities in design, computing, and fabrication, which allow us to program proteins and bacteria, to generate self-transforming wood products and architectural details, and to create clothing from “intelligent textiles” that grow themselves. This book offers essays and sample projects from the front lines of the emerging field of active matter.

Active matter and programmable materials are at the intersection of science, art, design, and engineering, with applications in fields from biology and computer science to architecture and fashion. These essays contextualize current work and explore recent research. Sample projects, generously illustrated in color, show the range of possibilities envisioned by their makers. Contributors explore the design of active material at scales from nano to micro, kilo, and even planetary. They investigate processes of self-assembly at a microscopic level; test new materials that can sense and actuate themselves; and examine the potential of active matter in the built environment and in living and artificial systems. Active Matter is an essential guide to a field that could shape the future of design.


About the Editor:

Skylar Tibbits is Assistant Professor of Design Research in the Department of Architecture at MIT and the Founder and Codirector of MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab. His work has been exhibited at the Guggenheim in New York, the FRAC Centre, the Beijing Biennale, and the Centre Pompidou.