This week’s selection is the incredibly realistic full color head by Stratasys.
To be honest, I don’t know much about this design; neither what it’s actually called, nor who specifically designed it. However, I do know that it was sponsored by Stratasys and placed on display at the company’s booth at the recent Rapid+TCT exhibition in Detroit, where we were able to see — and touch — this incredible 3D print.
Stratasys is well known for their powerful line of full color 3D printers that can reproduce virtually any color. Using such equipment it is possible to print objects with ridiculous realism. In fact, the company also displayed several prints that were absolutely “real” until you picked them up and noticed they were a bit heavier than what you’d expect.
For example, there was this slice of pizza:
It’s only fake if you zoom in closely. A casual passerby would not think twice about this item not being an actual pizza slice.
Back to the incredible head print.
The head, which by the way is wearing separately 3D printed eyewear, is life size and has surface textures that appear realistic no matter how close you look.
But the real shock comes when you touch this 3D print. It is not rigid; it has a flexible surface! In other words, it FEELS like an actual person!
You can grab the nose of this print and twist it, just like you might do to your annoying co-worker. It feels the same, although perhaps with decreased evil satisfaction.
How is this achieved? It turns out that Stratasys was demonstrating their new line of full color materials, the Agilus series. These provide not only full color, but also degrees of flexibility. It’s possible to print objects with flexible regions using this interesting PolyJet material.
Stratasys also used this material for this banana. And yes, it is squishy like a banana:
If we were to look around the back, we’d see that first the head is actually just the front half. But inside the head is a printed rigid core surrounded by flexible material. I presume this keeps the head straight up, but at the same time exhibits the human feel on the skin.
This is surely one of the most impressive 3D prints I’ve ever witnessed.
Is it a perfect 3D print? Not quite. I will point out a couple of items I noticed.
First, you’ll notice that the subject’s hair is neatly kept under the cap. This eliminates the need for 3D printing potentially highly complex hair structures. I’ve always said that the easiest subjects to 3D scan are those without any hair, and this print uses the same principle.
Secondly, the head’s teeth are also printed with the same flexible material. They bend, which doesn’t seem right. I pointed this out to a nearby Stratasys tech and he replied:
“Oh! I’ll tell this to the designer so that the next time it’s printed the teeth will be solid!”
As if it wasn’t realistic enough already.