‘Adaptnetic Structures’ (Adaptive Magnetic Structures) is a prototype that seeks to imagine a future where nanotechnology and materials research has given rise to sophisticated programmable matter, capable of changing its physical properties based on some kind of internal programming. The emerging scientific field of ‘claytronics’ is an example of modern day research in this area.
Here a viscous non-Newtonian fluid has been mixed with nano-scale particles of magnetic iron oxide (Non-Newtonian fluids have distinguished properties, in this case becoming solid with the application of sudden pressure).
With powerful neodymium magnets placed upon a raised platform, the magnetised non-Newtonian fluid is drawn up from underneath appearing to form additional support columns, which (due to their non-Newtonian properties) would provide initial resistance to sudden impacts. In this sense the fluid becomes a dynamic entity capable of re-arranging and concentrating itself where potentially needed.
By certain schools of thought, this may represent a form of ‘simple’ programmable matter (where the programmable element can be seen as external to the material itself by the placement and arrangement of extrinsic magnetic fields).
However ‘Adaptnetic Structures’ is only represented here as a prototype, and an indication of a future where sophisticated programmable matter may indeed form the basis of an architecture that constantly adapts to our ever changing needs.