Apr 26, 2018 | By David

We've reported before on the MIT Mediated Matter Group's use of 3D printing to create a remarkable range of "death masks". The most recent collection of five masks was the third and final set in the Vespers trilogy, part of a design exhibition called The New Ancient Collection, which is being curated by Naomi Kaempfer. These final five masks are 3D printed from bio-active materials, and they are intended to explore the concept of rebirth. Mediated Matter Group is led by American-Israeli designer and professor Neri Oxman, alongside Christoph Bader, Rachel Soo Hoo Smith, Dominik Kolb, Sunanda Sharma, João Costa and James Weaver.

The designs for the masks were created with advanced custom software that was used to model high-resolution, complex shapes based on data. These 3D designs were printed using a Stratasys Objet500 Connex3 multi-material 3D printer and bio-active materials.

The Vespers project started back in 2016, with the first five 3D printed death masks, based on ancient death masks that were molded from clay or other materials. The first set to be revealed was actually the second part of the trilogy, known as Present, The Digital World. These five masks were intended to convey ideas of metamorphosis, and their colors and shapes were based on those of the first part of the trilogy, which was revealed later.

"Using spatial mapping algorithms, the culturally coded surface colorations and truncated geometries in the first series are transformed into colored, internal strands within transparent, smoothly curved volumes in the second," explained the team.

The second set was called Past, The Natural World, and its concept was that the final breath of five martyrs was trapped inside the masks that they were buried in. The physical flow of air was represented by swirling patterns in the material, made using different minerals in the 3D printed structure.

For this third and final part of the trilogy, Future: The Biological World, the masks are intended to function as biological urns, and they are inhabited by various living microorganisms. These microbes were synthetically engineered by Oxman’s team to produce colored pigments, as well as the kinds of useful chemical substances that are often used for human augmentation, such as vitamins, antibodies or antimicrobial drugs. The Mediated Matter Group wanted to suggest the possibility that future bio-engineered wearable devices and interfaces could be personalized according to an individual’s chemical and genetic make-up, as well as their physical form.

(source: Dezeen)

According to the team, "these masks are paradoxically the most 'alive' of the three series. They literally 're-engineer' life by guiding living microorganisms through minuscule spatial features within the artefacts of the dead. Their microorganisms are distributed according to the spatial logic provided by the second series... The project points towards an imminent future where wearable interfaces and building skins are customised not only to fit a particular shape, but also a specific material, chemical and even genetic make-up, tailoring the wearable to both the body and the environment which it inhabits."

In the future, they predict that the kind of customization they have explored with these last five 3D printed masks could lead to medical interfaces that release antibiotics according to someone’s genetic make-up, as well as smart packaging that can detect contamination, and architectural surfaces that respond and adapt to environmental cues.

 

 

Posted in 3D Data Storage

 

 

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