Jan 23, 2015 | By Alec

Various attempts at 3D printed living and growing organisms are currently underway in different parts of the world, but despite its life-like appearance this isn’t actually one of them. And no, this isn’t something straight out of a futuristic horror movie either; instead, the Synapse headpiece is an intricate, artistic and yet scientific creation that beautifully reacts to the wearer’s brain activity.

It has been developed by Behnaz Farahi, a designer, architect, and Annenberg Fellow at the University of Southern California (USC). She created this inspiring headpiece to explore the possibilities created by bringing high-level 3D printing and the human body together. As she explained on her webpage, ‘The main intention of this project is to explore the possibilities of multi-material 3d printing in order to produce a shape-changing structure around the body as a second skin. Also, there is an attempt to explore direct control of the movement with neural commands from the brain, so that we can effectively control the environment around us through our thoughts. The environment therefore becomes an extension of our bodies.’

However, as the clip below (directed by Nicolas Cambier) illustrates, there are also clear artistic elements behind it, seeking to play with the human body’s intimacy and the things that surround it. ‘The distinction between them becomes blurred, as both have ‘become’ a single entity.’, Farahi adds.

But this is the amazing part: it does actually respond to brainways. A modified Neurosky EEG chip has been placed inside the Synapse, along with a Mindflex headset that enables the chip to record and analyse the wearer’s brainwaves during attentive and meditative states. Among the data it can record, are Attention, Meditation, Delta, Theta, Low Alpha, High Alpha, Low Beta, High Beta, Low Gamma, and High Gamma values. All of the data the chip collects and analyses is then transformed into movement and illumination of the headpiece, giving your mind the ability to influence your direct surroundings.

To do so, you’ll need a pretty advanced piece of headwear. Therefore this entire setup has been encased into a very flexible 3D printed structure, that has been created using an Object Connex500 3D printer. Both soft and hard structures were 3D printed in a single operation. This particular design has been chosen purposely, as Farahi felt that the ‘flexible/soft structure enables maximum contraction and expansion.’ The result? A gorgeous headpiece that combines the latest technologies. As technology, including 3D printing, is starting to increasingly feature in every aspect of our lives, perhaps this is what fashion will look like in two decades?


Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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Fredrick Zohlz wrote at 1/26/2015 3:07:16 AM:

The article doesn't mention the use of the (unreliable/pseudo-science) Neurosky TGAM for detecting the brainwaves. There is a good tutorial on how to build yourself a wearable that does the same thing here: http://makezine.com/go/eeg-beanie .

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