Skylar Tibbits

Speaker, Skylar Tibbits
Co-Director and Founder, Self-Assembly Lab, MIT
  • He was R&D Magazine's “Innovator of the Year” (2015) 
  • Named to LinkedIn Next Wave: Top Professionals 35 and Under” (2016)
  • He’s also a National Geographic Emerging Explorer (2015), a Wired Fellow (2014) and a TED Senior Fellow (2012).
  • Winner of a Fast Company “Innovation by Design Award” (2013)

Skylar and the MIT Self-Assembly Lab, along with several professional design collaborators, recently won a “London Design Museum Beazley Digital Design of the Year” award (2017) for Rapid Liquid Printing. Using a rubbery filament suspended inside a glass tank of translucent gel, the robotic technology instantly prints anything from tote bags to furniture, limited only by the size of the tank. 

The material programmer

If architect and computer scientist Skylar Tibbits has anything to do with it, the next industrial revolution will take place in the fourth dimension. Skylar is helping lead game-changing, sci-fi-like advancements in material technology and manufacturing processes by adding a new dimension to 3D printing – the dimension of time. Though it uses the same layering techniques as 3D printing, 4D printing uses programmable matter that is capable of transforming itself into something else over time. At the Self-Assembly Lab at MIT’s International Design Center, Skylar and his teams 4D print intelligence into materials that are capable of (re)building themselves and responding to environments and users. With a Master of Science in Design Computation, a Master of Science in Computer Science from MIT and a Professional Degree in Architecture, Skylar reaches across disciplines as he innovates. A year after he founded experimental design practice SJET LLC, which merged architecture, design, fabrication, computer science and robotics, Skylar garnered broader attention for his multidisciplinary approach when he was named a “Revolutionary Mind” in SEED Magazine’s science-focused Design Issue (2008). He’s worked at renowned firms Zaha Hadid Architects, Asymptote Architecture and Point b Design, and has designed, built and exhibited large-scale installations in galleries and museums around the world, including the Guggenheim in New York City. Skylar is also the co-founder of LogicInk, specializing in wearable sensors such as a colour-coded sticker that measures UV exposure on skin. He has shared his work widely in the books Self-Assembly Lab: Experiments in Programming Matter and Active Matter, as well as in articles in The New York Times, Wired and Fast Company.
“Today we program computers and machines, tomorrow we’ll program matter itself.”
Skylar at EmTechFrance 2016 
  • He was R&D Magazine's “Innovator of the Year” (2015) 
  • Named to LinkedIn Next Wave: Top Professionals 35 and Under” (2016)
  • He’s also a National Geographic Emerging Explorer (2015), a Wired Fellow (2014) and a TED Senior Fellow (2012).
  • Winner of a Fast Company “Innovation by Design Award” (2013)

Skylar and the MIT Self-Assembly Lab, along with several professional design collaborators, recently won a “London Design Museum Beazley Digital Design of the Year” award (2017) for Rapid Liquid Printing. Using a rubbery filament suspended inside a glass tank of translucent gel, the robotic technology instantly prints anything from tote bags to furniture, limited only by the size of the tank.