Designer Jiani Zeng and Honghao Deng, graduates from MIT and Harvard, recently developed 'Illusory Material,' a new 3D printing method that can create products with incredible unique optical and physical properties that deliver experiences that have previously seemed impossible.
"While many designers largely rely on 3D printing for prototyping, few are currently exploring the wider design possibilities that the rapid development of multi-material 3D printing provides," said Jiani Zeng, industrial designer & co-inventor of Illusory Material. "Today's consumer has become accustomed to responsive products, but this has largely been limited to the use of electronic components like touchscreens to enable interaction. Illusory Material opens up the possibilities."
Industrial and product designers can manipulate and control the color, texture and refractivity of individual three-dimensional pixels in a material. This would allow them to create products that respond to user interaction such as clear bottles that only display information when viewed at a particular angle.
"The technique used relies on several different functioning layers of material, with information embedded into each three-dimensional pixel to create interactive objects," explained Honghao Deng, computational designer & co-inventor of Illusory Material. "The designs consist of two basic layers: the top layer with lenticular lenses, and the colors or pattern embedded into a base layer. The technique can be used to create a variety of 3D lenticular designs, such as shifting patterns, interactive written content, and even touch-sensitive visual effects."
Pushing past the limitations of traditional design, Illusory Material uses multi-material 3D printing and volumetric design to create objects which incorporate a lenticular effect. The designers have created a collection of products that exemplify the possibilities of Illusory Material to create sensory products that enrich interaction between humans and objects.
Nseen is a truly minimalist perfume bottle that appears entirely transparent, but when viewed from a particular angle, essential information about the contents can be read.
Loopop is a prototype for lollipop molds that provides textural experiences and color that can only be created with a digital skin suggestive of the possibilities for play in the food industry and ability to bring digital experience into the physical world.
Unream is a sculptural lamp that demonstrates the possibilities for furniture and interior designers.