From Audio, To 3D Printed Sculpture, And Back Again

Have you ever wondered what a song looks like? What it feels like in your hands?

Those odd questions have an answer that has taken shape over at [Reify], which has developed a way to turn sound waves into 3D-printed sculptures. These visualizations made manifest can be made from any audio — speeches, the ambience of a forest, classical music, a rocket launch — and rendered in coconut husk, plastic, bronze and more.

[Reify]  also works in reverse — they are developing software that allows the observer to scan the sculptures and play back the audio that created it. It’s not apparent from the video or the website how [Reify] generates the sculpture from the sound byte — and especially scanning it back into audio considering the internal structures appear to be relevant pieces from the clip.

We could wax poetic about how humans have stored data over the ages: how the the long wisdom of stones has given way to the impressions of electrons, so it’s compelling to see a different kind of solid-state data storage system come back into play. And who says old formats like vinyl are dead?

If you have a specific clip you want to see rendered at home, we featured one method a few months ago.

[via Colossal. Thanks for the tip Itay Ramot!]

18 thoughts on “From Audio, To 3D Printed Sculpture, And Back Again

  1. Its not what a song looks or feels like though is it because songs aren’t tangible objects.
    you could interpret digitised audio in an a practically infinite number of ways to print a paperweight like this.

        1. The idea of a video codec is to use as little data as possible. This means that each combination of bits should code for a possible video. In practice many video formats sacrifice a small percentage of their efficiency for some robustness: a known code in a known place in the datastream. But if you remove the checks for that, or maybe have a player that will play what it’s got while waiting for the sync code, random digital data will play just fine as a video….

  2. I enjoy how allowing the user to add distortions to the audio print whatever it is that it would give a cop out to how terrible it would actually work. As long as they’re selling it as art I have no problem with this snake oil.

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