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Wow. Just wow. A nanotechnology research centre in Israel has discovered that by subjecting 3D-printed tetrahedral bricks to high-frequency vibrations they will self-assemble into a larger object, leading scientists to speculate of a future where goods can effectively “manufacture” themselves. Of course, in the natural world this happens all the time – think of cell creation in organic matter – but now it looks to be possible in the man-made dimension as well, leading to huge possibilities in commercial production and untold consequences for supply chains. “Ordering a smart phone with specific components, automatically assembled and shrink-wrapped with a protective coating, might take only a few minutes –- and no longer require thousands of phones to be pre-made. Perhaps furniture scale production might be possible in future – imagine flatpack IKEA…”

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