Making Pottery Without Touching It
Virtual artisanship is made possible by the use of software that tracks hand movement and printing methods that mimic age-old techniques.
Unfold, a design firm based in Belgium, collaborated with Tim Knapen to create a machine that enables users to sculpt virtually. “The Electronic Artisan” is made of a 3D laser scanner and a RepRap, which is a printer that can create objects in three dimensions.
In a roundabout way, the machine, which was installed for an exhibition in Belgium, refers to the artisanship of pottery. Moreover, the printing process mimics how the traditional technique forms objects by stacking coils of clay. Using software from openFrameworks, hand positions are tracked in a two part process. The first is a laser beam which tracks the hands' movements while the second process is a camera recording deformations to a line by the users' hand.