Sep 11, 2017 | By Benedict

Mark Wilson, a designer from Wellington in New Zealand, has 3D printed a synthetic Venus flytrap that responds to touch just like the real thing. The design, called 'Chromatose', is a finalist at the Design Awards of the Designers Institute of New Zealand.

For kids (and many adults), they’re the highlight of any exotic garden. Venus flytraps, which can seem more like cartoon monsters than real plants, are best known for their ability to rapidly “bite” down on any flying insects that are lured into their trap.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the green fingers required to keep a Venus flytrap at home. Although they’re not tropical plants, flytraps thrive in boggy habitats, and take a bit more care and attention than cacti and other low-maintenance flora.

But what if you could have a Venus flytrap that didn’t require water, and could therefore stay alive forever? Thanks to Mark Wilson, a designer from Wellington in New Zealand, that flytrap now exists.

In fact, the amazing 3D printed Venus flytrap is now a finalist at the Designers Institute of New Zealand’s annual Design Awards, where it was one of 1178 submissions in the fields of graphic, interactive, moving image, spatial, and product design.

And you can see why Chromatose, the amazing 3D printed Venus flytrap, has received recognition. According to Wilson, the design isn’t just a simple CAD model turned into a plastic replica—it’s actually informed by real biology.

“Due to recent advances in digital fabrication technologies, with code and algorithms, we have the ability to write or script a digital DNA of anything and everything,” Wilson explains. “This can then be modified and mutated as if it were actual DNA, dictating the organism's qualities and characteristics.”

This digital advancement means that Wilson and his team have been able to synthetically reproduce organisms found in nature, and with a striking resemblance to boot.

For the Venus flytrap, Wilson 3D printed most elements using a Stratasys Objet350 Connex3 color 3D printer, before assembling them into a system which acts in a similar manner to the real thing.

“Each flower is able to be opened pneumatically with small channels embedded inside, and with just a light touch they quickly snap back into their concave position,” the designer says.

The flytrap is just one of many projects being carried out by the designer and his associates. Wilson currently runs a design firm called MASS Design, working alongside mechatronics engineers, architects, coding experts, and various other professionals who can each contribute their areas of expertise to exciting projects like this one.

“We've found that cross-pollinating ideas and skillsets, we have the capability to innovate far beyond what typical industries can offer,” Wilson says. “Although this isn't strictly relevant to my project, I still think our ideologies align with that of what motivated me to produce a project like Chromatose.”

The winners of the Designers Institute of New Zealand contest will be announced at a special event on October 6.

"This year's finalists show that there is confidence in our design community and that clients are using design to positive effect,” says Cathy Veninga, institute chief executive.




Posted in 3D Printing Application



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