For its 5th edition, the YouFab Global Creative Awards has selected 23 finalists. As we wait for the winners to be announced by Fabcafe Tokyo, here are our favorites.
Tokyo, from our correspondent
It’s a prestigious competition, hosted by the Fabcafe network (born in Tokyo), that attracts makers from around the world. Out of 196 entries from 31 countries, YouFab 2016 has shortlisted 23 finalists, creative and innovative projects that reconcile digital and physical fabrication, all categories combined. On February 7, an international jury will choose its winners, whose works will be exhibited the following month in the heart of Shibuya in Tokyo.
The 2016 awards salute the emergence of Fab 4.0, as defined at the FAB12 conference in Shenzhen by Neil Gershenfeld. While YouFab 2015 was marked by Fab 2.0 (original and hacked 3D printers and other machines), the latest shortlist explores the concept of directly programming materials, with projects such as the 3D printed hair of Cilllia, the resounding and reactive textiles of Sensory Lines and Caress of the Gaze, or even the multi-material displays of Leaked Light Field. Other projects shone a new light on digital fabrication through unconventional materials, such as quartz, knitted threads or coffee grounds. Below are Makery’s favorites.
Most titillating: “Cilllia”
Biomimetics proves to be an endless source of inspiration for researchers in materials. MIT’s Tangible Media Group has engineered a way to print, program and manipulate synthetic hair. With Cilllia (that’s with three “l”s), each wisp of hair, measuring between 150 and 50 micrometers in diameter, reacting in delicate symbiosis with its neighbors, is capable of moving things on a human scale.
“Cilllia”, by Tangible Media Group:
Most piercing: “Leaked Light Field”
Also on a scale barely visible to the human eye, Leaked Light Field, the neo-luminous project by the students of Digital Nature Group at Tsukuba University in Japan, seems to magically transform almost any surface into a pseudo-LED display. The secret? The material is laser-pierced by invisible 100-micrometer pinholes in regular intervals. The only catch is that you still need a conventional luminous display behind it to see the light show, but we can already imagine the “surprise” applications, especially with the rise of flexible screens.
“Leaked Light Field”, by Digital Nature Group:
Most synesthetic: “Sensory Lines”
While the fashion world spotlights the visual effects of interactive textiles, Mexican-Hungarian duo EJTech has succeeded in integrating directly into the textile material of Sensory Lines acoustics, haptic feedback and dynamic display. As the project is still in experimental mode, we look forward to discovering the multisensory wearables that may emerge from it.
“Sensory Lines”, by Ejtech:
Most haptic: “Irukatact”
Here, biomimetics emulates the echolocation technique of dolphins to explore aqueous environments through your fingertips. Irukatact, the 3D printed open source glove-prosthesis conceived by American inventor Aisen Caro Chacin in collaboration with Takeshi Oozu at Tsukuba University, uses a sonar sensor that sends haptic signals in the forms of water jets to three fingertips, depending on the topography of the space and the distance of the objects. As the inventor points out, this technology can also be applied to virtual reality environments.
“Irukatact”, by Aisen Caro Chacin:
Most cerebral: “Audi Mind Race”
Pure application of the power of brainwaves, Audi Mind Race is a promotional installation that features a mini formula race of cars “driven” by people wearing Mindwave EEG headsets. The harder the driver concentrates, the faster the car goes. Blink to activate the turbo boost. Prepare the podium for the next quadriplegic champion!
“Audi Mind Race”, by Antiloop:
Most retro: “News Globus”
These four students of the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design didn’t try to reinvent the world. They took an old-fashioned globe, inserted some electronics (including a Genuino MKR1000) and plugged in a few elements of the now-obsolete telephone switchboard. The resulting object is a geophonic globe that allows you to connect two countries with a wire and listen through headphones to news regarding dialogue between the two nations.
“News Globus”, by its team:
Most enormous: “This New Technology”
Gravity-powered mechanics make a comeback in Dutch artist Daniel de Bruin’s “analog 3D printer”, which operates without electricity using a system of weights and pulleys… to produce imperfectly round pottery. We appreciate the down-to-earth irony of This New Technology, challenging the current plethora of digital fabrication tools.
“This New Technology”, by Daniel de Bruin: