Kiwi's 4D printing innovation a game-changer for making movies

A Kiwi Masters student has invented what she believes could be a game-changer for movie-making. 

It involves what's being called 4D printing - like 3D printing, but when you add air, magic happens. 

Plants the size of your hand are just the beginning; going forward, the only limit is the imagination. 

"You can pump air into them and they'll sort of come to life in front of camera," industrial designer Nicole Hone told Newshub. 

It's basically 3D printing, but without the hard plastics - so the object can inflate with air and change its shape over time.

Of course, there's nothing basic about that at all. 

"With multi-material 3D printing, you can print with a range of rigid and flexible materials blended together in the same object," Ms Hone said.

"That gives you the ability to create things that can move and come alive on screen."

And its onscreen magic has already caught the eye of a man who knows a thing or two about movie-making - Weta Workshop's Sir Richard Taylor. 

"That shows some promise for how the technology may be able to integrated into the film industry later on," Ms Hone said. 

Nicole Hone wants her 4D creations to give actors something to interact with in the moment and reduce the time spent on post-production.

"I think tangible animation was bringing that idea, those objects and that kind of magic of the film into the real world, where we could sort of interact with those objects," Ms Hone said.

It's a real-life innovation that looks more like something out of a movie - exactly as intended.