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Credit: Kotaro Tanimichi

Kotaro Tanimichi (JP), Shunji Yamanaka (JP), Prototyping & Design Laboratory, the University of Tokyo (JP)

al-dente is a prototype to control an object’s stiffness using a complex structure realized by additive manufacturing (AM) technology. AM, used in 3D printing, permits the fabrication of complex shapes and can be used to produce physical properties that have previously been hard to control.

The spiral, conical surface has a geometrical axis that when printed as structure does not work as such, because its volume is approximately zero. Finally, it becomes extremely flexible and behaves like a balloon filled with water; however, it has no narrow parts. By making its layers wavy, the structure can change from a rigid to a flexible state. In the near future, when we make something we will be able to select structures just like we select material, and the integrated selection of structure and material will produce new artifacts that we cannot as yet imagine.


Designer: Kotaro Tanimichi
Project director: Shunji Yamanaka