I can't imagine that covering sensitive parts of one's body with hard plastic circles connected by springs would be particularly comfortable, although the website claims that it is "comfortably wearable." It also seems that the circle packing pattern, as mathematically interesting as it is, has the potential to be embarassingly revealing. (In one of the pictures, it's hard to tell, but it looks like the model might possibly be wearing something underneath the plastic, which would seem like a sensible thing to do).
I'm not exactly a fashionista; I buy most of my clothes on sale at Sears. However, there were some interesting things in the video. For one thing, it was interesting to see the circle packing algorithm at work. Also, Jenna Fizel (who developed the circle packing algorithm) made the point that modern computation actually developed out of textile production. This was something I didn't know much about, but Wikipedia was able to enlighten me: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaccard_loom
The logical next step for this particular application would be to set up a retail site where the customers body is scanned, 3D model created and custom clothes made on the spot. Control or padding could be added in certian areas. Would seem like a fashion designers dream...
I think you're on to something Alex. I just did an interview with Brian Matthews, head of Autodesk Labs, on their new technology release called Photofly, which essentially takes a series of 40 or so regular photos and via a cloud service, converts them into a 3D model (story will be posted shortly--stay tuned!). Any way, he talked a lot about that. The combination of technologies like Photofly with lower cost 3D printers and even CNC machines giving smaller manufacturers or even retail specialists an edge producing custom gear tailored for individuals--everything from hearing aids to high-fashion like the N12 bikini.
As you report, the lower price point of 3D printers is driving the technology into new consumer applications. I expect we'll see a flood of what, for want of a better phase, one could call "boutique" 3D prototyping/manufacturing. I could even imagine a small-scale retail entrepreneur setting up something like a novelty shop version of this stuff, where your 3D resin-based product is "printed" before your eyes.
Very interesting story, Beth. I have to wonder, though, no matter how thin this bikini is, I can't imagine you would you stay very cool in it. For $450-$500, any ideas on who this would appeal to? Do these designers see a fashion trend hitting the beaches anytime soon?
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.