Tactum: Design 3D creations using light projection directly on the body

Light projected onto the body becomes a straight-to-print design tool with Tactum.

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Imagine designing wearables on your body before sending your exact needs to a 3D-printer? Design collective MADLAB.CC explores computational approaches to architecture, craft, and interaction, and their latest contribution is an augmented modelling tool that lets you design 3D printed wearables directly on your body.

Tactum uses depth-sensing and projection mapping to detect and display touch gestures on the skin. “A person can simply touch, poke, rub, or pinch the geometry projected onto their arm to customize ready-to-print, ready-to-wear forms,” writes the collective.

Using Microsoft Surface Pro 3 as an auxiliary display, Tactum’s first prototype uses Microsoft Kinect to detect and track skin gestures. The second prototype used an above-mounted Leap Motion Controller for skin gestures. The designers found that the Kinect provided more robust gesture detection.

According to the designers, scanning the entire body is not necessary but is preferred for precise measurements. “Between the 3D scan, the intelligent geometry, and intuitive interactions, Tactum is able to coordinate imprecise skin-based gestures to create very precise designs around very precise forms,” wrote the designers.

In one scenario, Tactum was used to create a new watchband for the Moto 360 Smartwatch. Using skin gestures, the designer was able to set the position and orientation of the watch face on the wrist and craft the overall form.

“Tactum also embeds 3D printing fabrication constraints into the geometry. No matter how the designer manipulates the projected forms, every design is always ready to be 3D printed and worn back on the body.”  

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