Cilllia - 3D Printing Functional Hair
3D Hair Generator
Throughout nature, hair-like structures can be found on animals and plants at many different scales. Beyond ornamentation, warmth and a sense of touch, hair is also a natural responsive material that interfaces between the living organism and its environment by creating functionalities like adhesion, locomotion, and sensing. Inspired by how hair achieves those properties with its unique high aspect ratio structure, we are exploring ways of digitally designing and fabricating hair structures.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
This work presents a computational method of 3D printing hair structures. It allows us to design and generate hair geometry at 50 micrometer resolution and assign various functionalities to the hair. The ability to fabricate customized hair structures enables us to create super fine surface texture; mechanical adhesion property; new passive actuators and touch sensors on a 3D printed artifact. We present applications to show how the method can be used for designing everyday interactive objects.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
It seems as if 3-D printers can spit out just about anything, from a full-size sports car to edible food to human skin. But some things have defied the technology, including hair, fur, and other dense arrays of extremely fine features, which require a huge amount of computational time and power to design and print. Cilllia is a way we developed to quickly and efficiently model and print thousands of hairlike structures. Using conventional computer-aided design software would mean drawing thousands of individual hairs on a computer, translating each hair’s contours into a mesh of tiny triangles, and then turning cross sections of that mesh into layer-by-layer pixelated instructions for the 3-D printer to follow, a process that would take hours. Cilllia bypassed all that with a new voxel-based printing software platform that lets users define the angle, thickness, density, and height of thousands of hairs in just a few minutes. The printed hair can be used as an adhesive surface like Velcro; an actuated surface to move object in designed paths; or a sensing surface to sense user's touch and swipe.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
The project started in February 2015 in Boston and finished in May 2016 in Boston, and will be exhibited in Centre Pompidou in March 2017.
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
all samples were fabricated with stereolithography 3D printing. We developed a voxel-based model generation method to instruct the printer to print various hair geometry and structure.
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
each sample is approximately 40 by 60 by 60 mm. they can be assembled together to form larger design
3D Printing, New Material, Surface Texture, Actuated Interfaces; Acoustic Sensing; Digital Fabrication; Hair.
These days, it seems as if 3-D printers can spit out just about anything, from a full-size sports car to edible food to human skin. But some things have defied the technology, including hair, fur, and other dense arrays of extremely fine features, which require a huge amount of computational time and power to design and print. This work presents a voxel-based method for 3D printing hair-like structures on both flat and curved surfaces. It allows a user to design and fabricate hair geometries at the resolution of 50 micron. We built a software platform to let users quickly define the hair angle, thickness, density, and height. The ability to fabricate customized hair-like structures not only expands the library of 3D-printable shapes, but also enables us to design passive actuators and swipe sensors. We also present several applications that show how the 3D-printed hair can be used for designing everyday interactive objects. As high-resolution 3D printers become increasingly available and affordable, we envision a future where physical materials’ properties, whether optical or mechanical, electrical or biological, can be encoded and decoded in the material fabrication process directly by users.
Although the resolution of recent 3d printers has been improving, it is still considered impractical to directly print fine hair arrays on object’s surfaces. This is due to the lack of an efficient digital representation of CAD models with fine surface texture. Most of the current commercially available 3D printers use a layer-by-layer method to deposit/solidify materials into shapes that are designed in the CAD. The process follows a top-down pipeline, in which users create digital 3D models, and then a program slices the models into layers for the printer to print. In the field of computer graphics, the standard way to represent surface texture is through lofting bitmaps on the CAD model to create an optical illusion. These representations do not actually capture the 3-dimensional structure. It is difficult and impractical to create many thousands of small hairs with real geometry using conventional CAD systems. The data for describing the total geometry becomes extremely large and rendering such complex structures can also be computationally expensive.
TEAM MEMBERS (1) :
Jifei Ou, Gershon Dublon, Chin-Yi Cheng, Karl Willis and Hiroshi Ishii
All Photo/video credit to Tangible Media Group, MIT Media Lab