A carapace is a section of an exoskeleton or shell which functions as a protective plate and often covers a creature’s head or back. The carapace is both an organic mechanism and a useful protective structure, and it’s also a bit fearsome to behold.
Now the design team at Studio MHOX have created what they call the Carapace Project to examine the “processes and conditions” of body alteration, mutation, and metamorphosis, and since 2012 they’ve worked on mass customization systems for product design as well. The pair have made headlines with their fashion work with belt buckles and even orthotics.
The firm’s principals, Italian designers Filippo Nassetti and Alessandro Zomparelli, have developed what they call an “integrated framework” in which they scan the body and generate simulations of biological phenomenon using 3D printing and digital fabrication techniques.
The Carapace Project is research into this “generative design” which uses biodigital synthesis, prosthetics, and customization with the aim of arriving at commercial products.
Their latest project is an examination of the carapace’s morphology in design, and they use 3D printing and a “generative strategy” to create and control the ornamental qualities of the shell objects. They use a number of parameters to control the size, the smoothness, and the occlusion of the voids within the mask-like creations and a gradient which blends them into lighter structures.
A piece like ‘Audiam,’ named for the Latin word meaning ‘I will hear,’ was built using their design method.
Through the high-end line, the piece is customized and produced as single pieces using CRP Technology’s additive manufacturing process and Windform materials. The Windform line of materials like Windform LX 2.0 and Windform GT, polyamide-based materials reinforced with glass fibers, allow for the free-form design of the masks. The custom-fit pieces are in the Carapace Project’s high-end Mater line — 3D printed using the Windform materials — while standard-fit pieces, 3D printed in nylon, are available through the Replica line.
“Contemporary scientific and technological research are changing the way man relates to his body,” they say. “Synthetic biology, advanced prosthetics and biohacking let us imagine future scenarios of physical transformation and redefinition, aesthetic and performance.”
They say Carapace is one possible evolution of the human body in which rigid elements similar to crustaceans’ and insects’ exoskeletons are used to integrate and transform sensory areas of the body like the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.
The masks are attempts to reproduce qualities of the carapace and adapt them to the human form, and they refer to the result as a “deep future brand.”
3D body scans and digital controls are used to customize the masks for a particular individual’s anatomy and preferences with the idea being “continuous improvement” through products, processes, or relationships.
A piece like the ‘Replica Vidiam’ (Vidiam being Latin for ‘I will see’), a single plate secured to the head by an elastic tape and approximately 170 x 100 x 210 mm and weighing around 140 grams, can be built at a cost of around $800, but the designers say it may one day soon be possible to create a fully customized version via remote 3D scanning systems – and all online. Delivery is free of charge.
They also offer what they call Sartoria Carapace, the firm’s service for “full product customization,” and it offers the chance to build your custom appearance and a custom fit “outer shell.” You can contact them for more information through their website, Carapace Project.
Can you imagine a time when it’s possible to order affordable body modification pieces which are both protective and artistic? What do you think of the Carapace Project? Let us know in the 3D Printed Body Transformation forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out more images and an artistic video below.
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