Printer with the Good Hair

3D Printed Hair from MIT Does More Than Just Look Pretty

3D printed hair

Wish you could print awesome new hair for Barbie? This 3D Printed Hair from MIT doesn’t just look cool –– it’s programmable!

MIT Media Lab’s Tangible Media Group has created Cilllia (spelled with three Ls, just for good measure), the 3D printed nature-inspired hair. It’s been tested in toys and knick-knacks and can be programmed for several uses.

Cilllia can be created with specific thickness, density, height, and at a specific angle. Using a special program, the hair can even be designed to a 50-micron resolution for flat and curved surfaces. Hmm, how does one “program” hair, exactly…?

Blocks or panels covered in the short hair can stick together with mechanical adhesion, making it kind of like really incredible Velcro.

Even cooler, the hair has even been used to create specialized paint brushes and passive actuators. With a microphone attachment, the hair can act like a sensor, analyzing the direction and speed of a finger swipe. Using vibrations, the hair can sort items, or make them move in a pre-determined pattern.

Program 3D Printed Hair To Do Your Bidding

Makers and Etsy-lovers will likely find plenty to do with the 3D printed hair, too. Researchers tested a few fun Cilllia usages, including attaching it to small ballerina figurines. The hair on their feet allows them to dance in circles, much like a vintage music box.

Hair was also hooked up to a small windmill that sits on your phone. When the phone vibrates, the hair activates the windmill, alerting you to a call. This sounds ideal for office spaces, or folks who don’t enjoy being shocked with loud ringtones and vibrations.

The project was recently presented at the CHI Conference for Human-Computer Interaction in San Jose, and its usages are still being explored. 3D printable, designable hair will, no doubt, help in labs and studies, as well as sparking new possibilities for makers and the future of 3D printing.

Sure, obvious uses include helping Barbies who received poorly-executed haircuts a second life, but that’s only the beginning.

(Source: Tangible Media)

3d printed hair