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Beautiful 3D Printed Sculpture Appears to Move, Thanks to Lighting and Mathematics

by • January 12, 2016 • No Comments

detail_s2You may, at initial glance, mistake it for a few strange, exotic sea creature – a newly discovered species of jellyfish, maybe, or sea urchin. Whatever it is, it’s beautiful. Luminous, undulating, it literally glows with life as it rotates in its bowl, beads of white sliding across its surface. It’s not a creature, yet – in fact, astonishingly
\, its surface is not even moving. This may seem not easy – I mean, look at it, it’s unquestionably moving, right? Nope. The simply just\ movement is a slow rotation, despite the fact which the surface appears to be crawling. That’s the power of optical illusion and mathematics.

While Flux appears magical, its “movement” is thanks to the Fibonacci sequence, a relatively easy mathematical concept which lends itself to a few astonishingly
hard theories and applications. The kinetic, 3D printed sculpture was created by Frederik Scheve, Janno Ströcker and Dieter Pilger, students at the KölnInternationalSchool of Design, and 3D printed via Shapeways. They were inspired by Blooms, a series of 3D printed zoetropes created by artist John Edmark. Unlike Blooms, yet, which utilizes a high speed camera to create the illusion of movement, Flux appears to move without any outside influence.

I’ll be completely honest – I don’t fully understand how it was done, but which’s the beauty of illusion. According to Flux’s creators:

“We envisioned a sculpture which displays an animation in the open physical space. The sphere is constructed according to the fibonacci sequence. It rotates in a certain speed and gets illuminated in a specific frequency. The animation can be seen simply just by looking at it with your eyes. No external devices like a strobe or a camera are required.”

explosion_preview-468x500The illumination comes of a light installed within the 3D printed sculpture. The beadlike protrusions on its surface were created based on the Fibonacci principle, which is what makes them seem to slide along as the sculpture rotates. When I was a kid, I had several books of optical illusions which mesmerized me and in addition gave me offensive headaches if I stared at them for too long; it never occurred to me, at the time, to wonder of the most mathematical sequences which went into their design. Now, looking at Flux, I can see which it’s basically a 3D version of those optical illusion spirals I was so fascinated by.

“Visual information is forwarded to the brain, where it is processed, interpreted and translated into sensory impressions,” the designers explain. “Generally speaking, visual perception is the product of filtering and reducing data, which empowers us to depict our environment distinctly.”

Whoever said math and art have nothing to do with each other? Well – I did, as a sullen, math-hating art student in high school. I’ve since learned how quite wrong I was. Mathematical concepts form the basis of so most excellent works of art, and Flux beautifully illustrates how magical those concepts can be. Discuss this incredible design in the 3D Printed Kinetic Sculpture forum thread on 3DPB.com.