Feb 16, 2016 | By Tess

Last night’s 58th Annual Grammy awards celebrated the latest in popular music and featured some great performances by the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Adele, and Taylor Swift. The big focus of the night, however, fell not only to the young contemporary artists, but to a stunning homage to David Bowie, the late, great, and always cutting-edge rock star who died earlier this year. The homage consisted of a performance by Lady Gaga who sang a number of Bowie’s hits as well as unbelievable visuals and stage effects designed and orchestrated by a tech team at Intel.

Among the groundbreaking visual effects were a digital skin effect where Lady Gaga’s actual face had different makeup effects projected onto it during the performance, interactive video and real time effects, a robotic dancing piano, and interactive holograms. The technology behind the artistic stage visuals, which required such diverse processes as 3D scanning, 3D printing, robot programming, and Intel’s new Curie technology, was a joint effort between American tech company Intel, who have a contract with the Grammy’s, and Gaga’s own creative team, the Haus of Gaga.

“I like to do things that integrate technology and art with powerful experiences,” said Lady Gaga. “I think that this collaboration with Intel has been very different than anything I have done before. They have really given me so much amazing technology to play with.”

Gaga, who has herself been inspired by David Bowie’s music and own celebrity persona, wanted to create not only a memorable performance in homage to him, but an experience for the audience to be visually and emotionally immersed in. Thanks to her powerful performance and impressive digital and engineering feats, I think it’s safe to say she succeeded.

The performance opened with Lady Gaga singing Space Oddity, with digital, animated makeup being projected onto her solemn face. To accomplish the effect, which was a difficult feat because the projections had to track the movement of her face as it sang, Intel’s tech team 3D scanned Gaga’s face in 12 different positions and actually 3D printed the scans to practice the projections. This allowed them to prepare for the actual performance as they were able to design and choreograph the makeup animation accurately and fitted to Gaga’s face.

Asai Nobumichi, who designed the facial projections, explains, “It’s the first time I’ve done it live. Gaga pushed for this technology to be in this show.” During the performance the digital skin was projected on Gaga’s face live, and kept up with her movements thanks to infrared sensing cameras  which tracked her facial movements.

Much of the performance was also based around Intel’s Curie technology, which allowed Lady Gaga to effectively control the visuals and holographic effects as she moved around the stage. The Intel Curie technology was put into a wearable ring for the performance, meaning that any time Gaga moved or danced, the technology could pick it up and send the data to server which would generate the effects in real-time.

The other standout tech feature of the performance was of course the dancing piano, which was made using industrial robots and the Curie module to turn a real dancer’s movements into a flow that the robotic arms could mimic.

Curie module ring

Lady Gaga says of the performance, “We wanted to create an expression of not only David Bowie’s magic as a visual artist and musician who combined music, technology, fashion, and art, but also to show that there is magic that can be made with technology that it’s not just big machines and computers and the internet, you can actually create imagery that is other worldly, moments, events, experiences that have never happened before.”

This performance marks the first collaboration between Intel and the Grammy Awards, and as the partnership continues into the future there is no doubt more amazing performances will follow. If you missed the live performance last night, be sure to check out the full video below:



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Anthony Panvini wrote at 2/17/2016 1:46:57 AM:

So amazing how 3D printing is being incorporated into different things throughout culture.

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