Imagine a bracelet or a watch that morphs into something else when you take it off. Perhaps it becomes a phone, or perhaps a small computer screen and keyboard.
Researchers are just a few years away from bringing to life revolutionary morphing devices known as programmable matter which can change size, shape and function.
Programmable matter, or “claytronics”, involves creating devices made of millions of microscopic robots that are to 3D objects what pixels are to a screen.
These devices sound like pure science fiction, but they might be closer than anyone would have dreamed. And that includes Jason Campbell, one of the key members of the research team developing the technology at the Intel Research Centre.
“It’s a really challenging research vision, but we are making steady progress and we’re now more convinced that we are actually going to do it,” says Mr Campbell.
“My estimates of how long it is going to take have gone from 50 years down to just a couple more years. That has changed over the four years I’ve been working on the project.”