American Zoetrope

3D Printed Zoetrope Animations by Nervous System

nervous system

Nervous System is a team of MIT mathematicians and biologists with a passion in generative design and the materialization of fractals.

Nervous System is a four-member team of designers making 3D fractal creations from structural and generative algorithms, exploring the fusion of biology and math through their 3D printed creations.

In a recent work, Nervous System set a number of 3D printed objects — depicting the sequential stages of algorithmic development — on a rotating plate. By essentially making a 3D printed zoetrope, an ancient animation technique that originated around 100 BC, they presented the essence of generative design to their audience in a very clear and physical way.

The designs also also present the harmony of natural growth, using 3D printing and generative design to replicate the way many natural structures are formed. The result is truly astonishing.

By using 3D printing to combine the sciences of mathematics, biology and architecture, Nervous System has developed an online system that lets people customize their own products through the changing of variables, leading to a myriad of different creations.

Their online shop is populated with products of cellular design, zoetropes that resemble organic nerves, laplacian based contraptions, and other dendritic and fluorescent shapes. The product categories include jewelry, home decorations, generative puzzles, and even a 3D printed dresses, all made from of a variety of materials.

Nervous System have presented their creations in exhibitions around the globe, amazing the crowds with pure math deriving from nature itself. Check out the reaction from 2010, xylem and hyphae and laplacian from 2011, and floresence, which was presented in 2014 in New York.

The team is experimenting with generative forms of all kinds, and this latest project actually conveys organic growth as it occurs. Since the product’s design and manufacturing is based on actual growth algorithms, the process of creating them is more like a naturally occurring dynamic growth, rather than predefined manufacturing of a specific design.

nervous system