Jun 17, 2015 | By Simon

Although by now we are well-aware of the various benefits of 3D printing in a multitude of industries ranging from more traditional hardware design and consumer product development to its use in the medical industry for creating anatomical replicas and custom prosthetics, some of the most exciting applications for 3D technologies have been in the use for conceptual art projects as a medium for storytelling.

More recently, Storynest, a Taiwanese performance and dance project, has resorted to using 3D scanning and 3D printing technologies to help add a new dimension to their storytelling experience.  

The performance, which is called “The Inheritance” has already received rave reviews both for the quality of performance - which bends 3D projections to create dreamlike optical illusions - as well as the story, which focuses on the spiritual pains that remain in families after a state of national unrest.  

Created by Storynest director Hsin-Chien Huang, “The Inheritance” is set in front of a giant screen that features a series of stereographic projections.  The projections are controlled by the dancers through the use of real-time motion capture data.

In order to deliver this technological marvel to the storytelling experience, Storynest utilized the Xsens MVN inertial motion capture suit, which was created by the 3D motion tracking technology experts from Xsens and has been used previously in everything from video games to feature films.  Movements from the suit are mapped to the virtual characters so that the dancer can interact with key sets in the piece.  Additionally, a series of pre-rendered animation and physics simulations are loaded into the system as well, which gives the team the opportunity to use predefined motions where desired.  

“We wanted to give the audience a real sense of three-dimensionality,” said Huang. “This way the dancers’ performance seems to extend to the tip of the audience’s nose.”

“Exploration is the only way for me to understand my personal history … I want to use my hands to experience that journey, and by using the technologies like motion capture and 3D printing, I can transform the trails of my hands into tangible sculptures.”

In order to manipulate the motion capture data in real-time, data from the performance is streamed directly to an on-site crew with rendering software.  This data is capable of being manipulated if desired with features ranging from duplication to mirroring and delaying or accelerating - depending on what the creative direction entails.   

Of course, with 3D scanning and motion capture comes the ability to 3D print the data, too.  

“With accurate mocap data, human hands become a 3D scanner,” said Huang. “Our walking paths record the contours of the terrain we have travelled; when I convert these paths into 3D models and print them out with a 3D printer, these once ambiguous memories become visible. They can be shared and re-touched.”

Using this method, Huang has 3D printed many of the projections used in the story that are literal moments that have been frozen in time based off of the real-time data.  

“The future can only be changed if we invent fresh and sincere ways to understand our past,” added Huang. “I want to find new ways to document my private memories.”

Currently, “The Inheritance” is still in development.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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