Take a seat and watch a chair assemble itself in a matter of minutes (hours)

18 Feb 2015

MIT’s self-assembly lab has a new trick, a chair that creates itself, under water, over the course of several hours.

Using clever connections for each part, and jets of propulsion in the tank of water, the lab essentially, through trial and error, circulate the pieces around and around until each section links with it’s matching counterpart.

In this example the chair is made up of six separate parts, with strictly defined sizes and connections to ensure no parts stick together that shouldn’t stick together.

“The chair was selected to demonstrate differentiated structures as opposed to repetitive growth or self-similar structures,” according to the self-assembly lab.

Fluid Assembly Furniture from Self-Assembly Lab, MIT on Vimeo.

The connections are actually magnetic, and designed in unique pairs. “At close proximity, each piece should easily connect with its corresponding component but never with another one,” explains Baily Zuniga, a member of the lab, in Wired.

“Finding a way to make the pieces more interchangeable would increase the probability of the pieces finding their matches,” says Zuniga. “Thus resulting in a faster assembly.”

The chair in question is just 15cm high, and took seven hours to make, but the potential is there for bigger and better things.

Plenty of projects

Indeed the lab has created some pretty cool projects in the recent past. In 2013 it’s ‘Fluid Crystallisation’ project featured in the Architectural League Prize Exhibition, portraying how solids change to liquids and then gasses by randomly showing atom-shaped items linking together amid a turbulent atmosphere.

Fluid Crystallization from Self-Assembly Lab, MIT on Vimeo.

I’m not too sure what to take from that project, but it’s a cool video.

More recently it’s ‘Aerial Assemblies’ project took the concept into the air, linking a series of helium balloons into different systems and shapes.

Aerial Assemblies from Self-Assembly Lab, MIT on Vimeo.

Chair image, via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic