The concept is similar to 4D modeling, but in the case of 4D printing the idea is to use materials that can change over time. According to a report in 3DPrint.com MIT, Autodesk and Stratasys are collabortaing on this research.
Led by Dr. Dan Raviv, a mathematician, researchers prepared “Active Printed Materials for Complex Self-Evolving Deformations,” which was published December 18th, in Scientific Reports. The paper covers their deep look into 4D printing, in which “a new design of complex self-evolving structures… vary over time due to environmental interaction.” Their new approach to additive manufacturing ensures not only that the material changes structure over time, but does so precisely, transforming “into a predetermined shape, changing property and function after fabrication.”
That would be very interesting.