YouFab 2015 showcases FabCafé Tokyo’s international winners

Exhibition view of winning projects at FabCafé Tokyo. © Cherise Fong

Tokyo, from our correspondent

The winners of YouFab 2015 have been announced. Organized by FabCafé Tokyo, this creative fabrication contest sifted through 152 projects from 26 countries to award 25 finalists, including 11 Japanese. The winning works (or their video/avatar) are on display at FabCafé Tokyo until February 8, 2016.

Kinematic clothing

The Grand Prize was awarded to U.S. designer duo Nervous System for their Kinematics Dress, which comes out tailor-made and ready-to-wear from a 3D printer. The textile is composed of several rigid but light nylon triangles, which interlock to form a garment that appears fluid and flexible. If the dress itself seems more fit for the runway than a cocktail party or a summer outing, the kinematic invention of tailored, 4D printed (whose form is ever-changing) clothes projects us into the future age of fashion makers. Prototypes of this dress, originally designed in 2014, are already in the permanent collections of MoMA and Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York.

Detail of Nervous System’s 3D/4D printed Kinematics Dress. © Cherise Fong

Conspicuously absent from the FabCafé exhibition was Diego Pinochet’s evasive Making Gestures, which won First Prize. Presented as a 5-axis CNC machine that reacts and learns from the human user’s gestures, his unique prototype was confiscated at Boston airport the day before the opening, where the Chilean professor of architecture at MIT boarded the plane for Tokyo.

Of course, we don’t doubt the machine’s existence, given the current technology of motion sensors and artificial intelligence, but it would have been nice to witness live the acclaimed wizardry of manually sculpting an object in real-time in collaboration with an intelligent CNC…

“Making Gestures”, Diego Pinochet:

Machines on the podium

This year, the finalists were dominated by original 3D printers and other innovative machines. For Artifacts (Judges’ Special Prize), Jon McTaggart converted an industrial robot into a 3D printer of sand, thus reviving the traditional craft of clay working. Flux Delta, by the Taiwanese collective Flux, is a sleek DIY desktop device that can 3D scan or print, as well as draw or engrave. Formbytes Technologies’ Ewaste 60$ 3D Printer (not far from the concept of OCPC), is entirely open source and built from 80% recycled components.

Formbytes Technologies’ Ewaste 60$ 3D Printer. © Cherise Fong

Circular Knitic, by Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Canet, is an open source knitting machine that can knit almost anything, as long as the object has a regular pattern and a tubular form, like a scarf.

Built at the Petit fablab de Paris by Arthur Baude, the Brumascope is a low-tech machine, also made largely from recycled parts, that “generates images in a cloud of mist that thickens or thins according to an audio and visual loop”.

For Transient Materialization, produced by Ecole polytechnique de Lausanne (Switzerland), Shih-Yuan Wang created a foam machine from which emerge surprising shapes.

“Transient Materialization”, Shih-Yuan Wang:

Mechanically speaking, we have a soft spot for U.S. duo Robot Army’s installation Light Play. Selling a kit to build the 3-axis robotic unit (not far from the delta mechanics of OCPC) on Kickstarter funded their vision to create a whole army (reminiscent of the good old Nabaztags), controlled by human gestures via Leap Motion.

But after all the international glory, we are still tickled by Sound of Tap Board, conceived during a local hackathon by a group of young Japanese. In order to “hack tap dancing”, they laser cut a large wooden platform and successfully transformed it into an infinite musical percussion instrument, where traditional tap dance is ergonomically enhanced by pre-recorded sounds, triggered and rhythmed by human corporal expression.

“Sound of Tap Board” demo, Ippei Yonezawa (tap dance), Neji Sato (video):

More information on YouFab Global Creative Awards 2015

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