I didn’t grow up watching music videos on MTV, but sometimes I’d see them at a friend’s house, and I was always fascinated by that method of storytelling. It’s not like a movie, or TV show – how do you build a world around a song that is likely no more than three or four minutes long? I was pretty into the Top 40 music on the radio during the 90s, like Christina Aguilera’s “Genie In A Bottle.” If I recall, that music video pretty much revolved around Christina attending a big house party by the ocean and close-ups of her singing on the beach. These days, music videos are getting more technologically advanced, and 3D printing is playing a part – the world’s first 3D printed rap music video premiered a year ago, 3D effects were used in a music video for Mexican electronica band Moenia, 3D artist Melissa Ng designed 3D printed masks for a music video, and a MakerBot 3D printer even got a starring role in a Feral Five music video! Singer Björk utilized 3D printing technology on her latest tour, and got to wear the 3D printed, pangolin-inspired dress designed by threeASFOUR for New York Fashion Week. Another musician was recently inspired by the adorable scaly anteater – Jamiroquai frontman Jay Kay.
Jay Kay is well-known for his very elaborate headgear, and was interested in referencing the endangered pangolin in the music video for Jamiroquai’s latest song, “Automaton.” London designer Moritz Waldemeyer was tapped to design a pangolin-inspired helmet, and was certainly the right man for the job, having already created a laser suit for Bono from U2 and an LED jacket for will.i.am with the Black-Eyed Peas, LED-encrusted carnival outfits for the closing ceremony of the Rio Olympics, and a set of LED jackets and customized guitars for American indie rock band Ok Go; you can take a look at his other projects here.
The 3D printed light-up helmet is based on the pangolin’s scales, and the various sections move up and down and light up in different colors. The “Automaton” track is very futuristic, featuring a repeated refrain of “It’s a digital life.”
Waldemeyer told Dezeen, “The starting point for inspiration that Jay Kay gave us was the pangolin. Not only did it capture his imagination as an endangered species, also the scale patterns offered a great starting point aesthetically.”
The shape-shifting 3D printed helmet features individual robotic scales that are individually illuminated and motorized, so the surface of the helmet is lit up with LED lights and movements. Waldemeyer describes the effect as resembling the nervous system of the person wearing the helmet.
“We have individual control over the angle of every single scale and the light output of every single LED pixel. This allows us to run both light animation and movements across the hat as if they were an integral part of the wearer’s nervous system,” explained Waldemeyer. “This system allows the hat to become integral to Jay Kay’s ‘Automaton’ stage persona, enhancing his amazing movement skills.”
He and his team worked with Jay Kay during the design process, and once the parametric model had been completed, Jay Kay was invited to change its angle, shape, and total number of scales in real-time on a screen.
Waldemeyer said, “This tool made the process one of the most satisfying and constructive design collaborations with a client that we ever had in the studio. The software tool and the fact that we would go to the pub in his vintage Ferraris.”
Once the helmet design had been finalized, every part was 3D printed, and then assembled with the LED boards and the motors. Honestly, the helmet looks more like porcupine quills than pangolin scales to me, but what do I know? Waldemeyer stated on his website that the song itself inspired his team to use very advanced modeling tools to create the helmet, and that the 3D printed helmet is the “most advanced piece of millinery on the planet today.”
You can pre-order the ‘Automaton’ track here, or just check out the music video, featuring Jay Kay’s pangolin-inspired, 3D printed light-up helmet:
Discuss in the Jamiroquai forum at 3DPB.com.[Sources/Images: Dezeen, Moritz Waldemeyer]
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