What is printed optics?
How will the interactive objects of tomorrow be manufactured?
Printed Optics is a design and manufacturing approach where the form and interactive functions of an object are created simultaneously using optical 3D printing technology. Sensing, display and illumination elements are printed directly within a physical model to create highly personalized interactive toys, devices, and objects.
A clear photopolymer resin is used to create optical elements layer-by-layer using 3D printing. Internal structures are carefully designed using light pipesand reflective bubbles to guide light from point to point. These structures enable us to redirect light from displays to create embedded screens on physical objects, to illuminate internal areas of a model for volumetric displays, and to design any number of customized sensor and interface elements.
Printed Optics is part of our long term vision for the production of interactive devices that are 3D printed in their entirety. Future devices will be fabricated on demand with user-specific form and functionality. Printed Optics explores the possibilities for this vision afforded by today’s 3D printing technology.
Willis, K., Brockmeyer, E., Hudson, S., Poupyrev, I. Printed Optics: 3D Printing of Embedded Optical Elements for Interactive Devices. In Proceedings of UIST 2012, ACM. pp. 589-598 [PDF].
Team and Credits
Printed Optics project was concieved and developed at Disney Research Pittsburgh by Karl Willis
and Eric Brockmeyer
in collaboration with Scott Hudson and myself.