With countless wires protruding from the side, as a lamp, this creation from researchers at Harvard is a disappointment at best. But as a demonstration of future technologies that promise to revolutionize manufacturing—like printable, self-assembling electronics—it's about as awesome as tech demos can get.
The lamp's flat structure, the hinges, most of the wiring, and even a touch sensor that turns the LED on and off, were all created from a very special printer that sandwiches the various layers together so that when a current is applied, it folds and assembles itself.
But forget lamps. Harvard clearly isn't letting its imagination run wild enough with this technology. It's all but impossible to watch that video and not realize you're seeing Optimus Prime's great great great great grandfather take its first steps towards becoming the transforming robot vehicles we all really want deep down. [YouTube via IEEE Spectrum]