Fabricate Yourself is a project that documented the Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction Conference. Usually we think of documentation in terms of text, photography and video, but given the tangible theme of the conference we decided to engage the community by capturing and fabricating small 3D models of attendees. This enabled us to build a tangible model of the event and fabricate it piece by piece during the conference.
Attendees firstly capture their favorite pose using a Microsoft Kinect. The depth image from the Kinect is processed into a mesh and displayed onscreen in real-time. At any time they can capture the mesh and save it as an STL file.
Dovetail joints are automatically added to the side of the models so they can be snapped together. This allows multiple models to be connected to form a larger overall model.
Below you can see the models packed on to the 3D printing base. The printer was working night and day during the conference as we kept it fed with numerous models created by attendees.
As we wanted to be able to fabricate a large number of models, we kept the size of the pieces down to approximately 3x3cm.
To print at the 3x3cm size we only needed to use one quarter of the full Kinect resolution. Below are renderings of the models created by attendees, as you can see they are quite low resolution due to the print size.
For those interested, a render of a full resolution model is shown below. The holes are due to occlusion of the projected IR light and general depth camera noise.
Finally below is an image of all the models we managed to print during the conference (and several print jobs we ran after it).
Ideally we would like to be able to produce these much much faster. Despite the long print times, people would return frequently to check if their model was finished. The excitement of creating something and instantly seeing the results is something we are all familiar with; be it with Polaroid cameras or Purikura stickers. Unfortunately for 3D printing it seems we are still some way off this reality.
Created by Karl D.D. Willis.
The project took place during January 2011 in Funchal, Portugal.
Software developed using openFrameworks.
Thank you to Ian Oakley, Nicolas Villar, James Scott, Mark Gross and Cheng Xu for getting this project off the ground and keeping it running during the conference.
Also a big thank you to Stratasys for providing the 3D printer.
Photos from the venue courtesy of TEI 2011 and Brian Lim.