3D Printing

Tangible Emotions: The 3D Printed Love Project

Emotions. So often intangible. Often we are not aware of them. They come and go. Some people allow their emotions to rule them. Others suppress their emotions. Emotions can take us to the pinnacles of experientialism or the very depths of despair. They are often hard to label. Even when we can verbally describe them to another person, we often find that words are not enough. Even more so beyond the mundane: What words are there to express the feeling of looking out into the stars on a clear cloudless night and emotions stilmulated by the vastness, beauty and wonder of the expanse of the universe and our own individual insignificance within it? Words are often not enough. There are perhaps a thousand types of happiness, a thousand types of sadness. But what if we could see our emotions? In that tangible form, touch our emotions? A delightful new 3D printing project may have achieved such tangibility with that most precious of emotions, love.

Estudio Guto Requena is a designer whose craft includes works that touch upon conceptual fine art. Requena ‘reflects about memory, digital culture and poetic narratives in all design scales’as his website states. A former Professor at Panamericana School of Arts and Design and Istituto Europeo di Design at Grad and Masters level, his career has seen commissions for companies as notable as Google and Walmart. The designer’s studio has embarked upon a collaborative design project with D3 Studio – via an adventurous use of sensor-based interactive hardware, specialist data processing software and 3D printing – to capture the emotions people feel about their everyday love stories.

emotions_1_participants 3d printing industry
The project ‘suggests a future in which unique products will bear personal histories in ways that encourage long life cycles, thus inherently combining deeply meaningful works with sustainable design.’ Participants who were asked to recount the most defining love story of their lives. Whilst they told the tale of their deepest romances and precious family moments the sensors – measuring brain, heart and voice activity – applied to their body read those emotions and interpreted it into digital data.

emotions_2_data 3d printing project
The data set was then translated by environmental processing into the same data format. From there the data was processed by software, specifically Grasshopper, to model a three dimensional object where each data set was processed as a different dimensional variable for virtual particles: The voice sensor as particle velocity, the heart rate as particle line thickness, and brain waves forging a pattern based upon inter-particle attraction. To create a functional final object with the parametric processing the designers created a guiding grid for the particles.

emotions_6_schematic 3d printing industry
The final design was then uploaded to a PolyJet 3D printer – the Stratasys Objet 260 Multimaterial 3D Printer – and each individual form was given its own printable material to create the final objects: a vase, a lamp, a fruitbowl. The results are quite stunning.

emotions_5_vase 3d printing industry
3d printed emotions lamp 3d printing industryCarlos R.B. Gonzalez, Director of Business at Anacom Eletrônica iterated: “The idea of collecting data and translating it into a physical object is not new. However, this is the first time that emotion has ever been translated into a physical piece, as far as we know, 3D Printing is still a new technology for many artists. When they get familiarised with the additive manufacturing process and the ability to create objects layer by layer, it will open up their mind to new possibilities in the creative process. This will open up a new range of expression for their feelings and expand the possibilities greatly. People get very excited with technology and art and this will only add to that excitement. An Application Engineer had to help us with the final design. The design had to be adapted to the tray size and made slightly smaller. It also had to be modified slightly to be made stronger.”

emotions_3_3d printed bowl
During São Paulo Design Weekend 2014, D3 created a live open public performance of the Love Project where they encouraged each participant to create their own objects from their most precious love stories. The results are presented in a tender video by the design studio, as below.