img_8348Okay, now that I have your attention with the click-bait (sorry, but it’s for the best) – it’s not human cloning in the sense of creating other humans directly from DNA but rather a clever device that uses 3D printing to create the impression of animated miniature copies of an individual person.

The way a zoetrope works is through creating a series of figures, each incrementally different than the next, and then ‘playing’ them on a rotating platform. It’s the same principle as the flip book, but in 3D. These contraptions have been around since the Victorian era, but with the introduction of 3D printing, they are becoming increasingly complex, sculptural shows. More and more of these eye catching creations are showing up, and the latest one comes from 360 Fossil and has a twist: the figure used to create the animation is created from a 3D scan of an actual person.

unnamed-22360 Fossil would like to see zoetropes created and personalized with miniature versions of anyone who wants one, their version of a human clone without all the ethical issues. These are the folks who created the Little Red Dot zoetrope, which included leaping dolphins and dancing figures, for Maker Faire Singapore in 2015. In the time since then we’ve seen a number of 3D printed zoetropes ranging from creations that highlight debauchery to nearly abstract forms that magically work together to create a beautiful dancing ballerina.

It’s more than just scanning in a couple of poses and printing the figurines. There is a great deal of thought that goes into the way those movements translate from one figure to the next and the overall aesthetic of the creation. In a video uploaded to YouTube, which you can see below, the team at 360 Fossil walks us through their process for creating a zoetrope.

It begins with the 3D scan of the figure to be cloned. That figure is fed into a program for animation that allows us to see on the screen what will hopefully be the impression created in the final model. Before we can get to the end model, however, the figures are all printed on an even smaller scale in order to test the animation sequence. The video is by no means a ‘how to do this at home’ piece as the next step after ‘print a test model’ is ‘print the final version,’ but it gives you a brief insight into the pre-completion build up.img_8332

What’s cool about the zoetrope is that knowing how it is done doesn’t take away any of the magic of watching it. Your brain just can’t convince itself that you’re not watching moving figures, at least not completely. So, is it human cloning? Well, obviously not, but frankly, it might be a lot more worthwhile. Discuss in the 360 Fossil forum at 3DPB.com.

[Images/video provided directly to 3DPrint.com by 360 Fossil]

 

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