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In recent decades, developments in software and hardware technologies have created dramatic shifts in design, manufacturing and research. Software technologies have facilitated automated process and new solutions for complex problems. Computation has also become a platform for creativity through generative art and design. New hardware platforms and digital fabrication technologies have similarly transformed manufacturing, offering more efficient production and mass customization. Such advances have helped catalyzed the maker-movement, democratizing design and maker culture. This influx of new capabilities to design, compute and fabricate like never before, has sparked a renewed interest in material performance.
We are now witnessing significant advances in active matter, 3D/4D Printing, materials science, synthetic biology, DNA nanotechnology and soft robotics, which have led to the convergence of software, hardware and material technologies and the growing field of programmable materials.
This conference was about the emerging field of active matter and programmable materials that bridges the worlds of art, science, engineering and design, demonstrating new perspectives for computation, transformation and dynamic material applications.
If over the past few decades we have experienced a software revolution, and more recently, a hardware revolution, this conference aims to discuss the premises, challenges and innovations brought by today’s materials revolution. We can now sense, compute, and actuate with materials alone, just as we could with software and hardware platforms previously. How does this shift influence materials research, and how does it shape the future of design, arts, and industrial applications? What tools and design processes do we need to advance, augment and invent new materials today? What are the key roles that industry, government, academic and public institutions can play in catalyzing the field of programmable materials?
This two-day conference consisted of a range of talks and lively discussion from leading researchers in materials science, art & design, synthetic biology and soft-robotics along with leaders from government, public institutions and industry.