When London architecture firm Foster & Partners announced the other day that they’d drawn up plans for moon buildings using printed moon-dust, we couldn’t help but wonder what else 3D printing has in store for us.
Artist’s visualization of the printed moon base plans.
Below, we’ve complied some mind-boggling and truly sci-fi 3D printing projects, dreamed up by makers, scientists and companies across the globe. From a printed hamburger, to a whole house, the future of 3D printing looks bright (and more than a little bonkers).
Crystals printed from the Crystalline app.
Love it or loathe it, the chances are you’re probably on Facebook. So why not turn it into sculptures? Thanks to three new apps produced by Hyperhyper and curated by The Creators Project, you can do exactly that. One app takes your social relationships and meticulously converts them into highly mathematical, colourful, crystalline sculptures. ‘MonsterMe’ turns you into a cartoon monster, whose urban habitat is directly influenced by your geographic location, likes and number of friends. And finally, ‘Astroverb’ determines where you fall in six personality dimensions and creates strange, sci-fi-like pendants which wouldn’t look out of place around the neck of the most fashionable Shoreditch hipster.
Not exactly renowned for their sartorial conservatism, conceptual fashion designers have embraced 3D printing as a means to take their creations far beyond the realm of needle and thread. The results so far are pretty cool: from Ross Barber’s leather shoes with intricate, 3D printed soles, to Younghui Kim and Yejin Cho’s 3D printed LED pixel hat which responds to movement. Printed fashion reached a new high recently when Dutch designer Iris van Herpen’s barmy and beautiful Spring 2013 collection was unveiled in Paris. Described as ‘what you’d get if aliens invaded Versailles’, it definitely didn’t disappoint!
Modern Meadow are the innovative company who’ve set themselves the unenviable challenge of printing raw meat. Raw meat… which comes out of a printer. What is this crazy world we’re living in? If they succeed with their ‘ethically sourced’ meat, vegetarians across the globe will have to seriously renegotiate their herbivore identities. Plus, it could help to reduce the rate of global warming. Meat isn’t the only foodstuff being printed off, however. Among many other projects is one from the University of Exeter which prints layered chocolate into whatever shape you want. We’re sold – where do we sign?
If there’s a maxim which would aptly describe the future of 3D printing, it’s this: dream big. Dutch architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars plans to create a whole house using a 3D printer! Named ‘The Landscape House’, the design itself is truly futuristic, looping in an endless and beautiful möbius band. Perhaps it’s not the most practical or comfortable, but it sure is stylish!
Bastian Schafer, designer of the Airbus, is working on plans which will see a ginormous printer the size of an aircraft hangar in operation by 2050. The printer will be used to construct airplanes, but they won’t exactly be your everyday Boeing 747. Constructed from a transparent skin giving the passenger panoramic views of the skies, packed full of high-tech transparent LCD screens, and complete with futuristic morphing seats, these are planes the like of which we’ve never seen before. Hurry up and get here already, 2050!