Can we make things that make themselves? Skylar Tibbits on

MIT researcher Skylar Tibbits works on self-assembly — the idea that instead of building something (a chair, a skyscraper), we can create materials that build themselves, much the way a strand of DNA zips itself together. It’s a big concept at early stages; TED Fellow Tibbits shows us three in-the-lab projects that hint at what a self-assembling future might look like. (Recorded at TED University 2011, in Long Beach, California. Duration: 6:05.)

[ted id=1215]

Watch Skyle Tibbits’ talk on, where you can download it, rate it, comment on it and find other talks and performances from our archive of 1,000+ TEDTalks.