A team from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Disney Research, has invented a 3D printer that makes custom balloons in any shape. After inputting the initial 3D shape, the device calculates the empty balloon shape needed before printing out the mold for the inflated balloon. The finished product can be blown as usual to resemble the initial design – without having to combine or twist balloons together.
Some shapes are more difficult to replicate, such as ones with more sharp edges or flat regions as air pressure tends to curve them outwards. Some of the successful balloon shapes have included a rabbit, an elephant, and the iconic Mickey Mouse’s head. The group will present their project at the Eurographics meeting in Cagliari, Italy, next month.