SXSW 2019

Morphing into the Future: "Shapeshifter" Materials


What if unassembled furniture could put itself together? Or if clothing could respond to skin conditions to keep you cool – or safe? And what if you could buy flat pasta that takes shape when cooking? It’s all within the realm of possibility with “adaptive materials.” What there is to know about the Morphing Matter Lab at Carnegie Mellon University is in its name. This lab challenges and often upends what we think we know about things in our lives. It's where 2D flat pasta springs to 3D life once it's in boiling water, and a jacket made of an adaptive, transformative material reacts to humidity and body temperature -- and responsively "vents" when worn. Materials as shapeshifters will inspire and give you a glimpse of what seems like future fiction being realized today.

Related Media

Other Resources / Information


  1. Imagine how packaging and shipping costs for products can be significantly reduced when raw materials can be changed so amazingly and drastically.
  2. If self-folding furniture, transformative fabrics and flat pasta exist today, what does the future hold for adaptive and transformative materials?
  3. How will new materials affect how things taste and feel, and how sturdy they are? What are the new ways products can be manufactured?



Mark Power, Director of Marketing & Communications, Carnegie Mellon University, School of Computer Science

Meta Information:

  • Event: SXSW
  • Format: Solo
  • Track: Intelligent Future
  • Track 2
  • Level: Beginner

Add Comments

comments powered by Disqus

SXSW reserves the right to restrict access to or availability of comments related to PanelPicker proposals that it considers objectionable.