REIFY Launches on Kickstarter: Artists Turn Songs into 3D Printed Animated Sculptures

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reifyThey call them totems, and they’re 3D prints encoded with music and visuals which create some very wild playback effects on a mobile device.

REIFY, a group of designers and engineers who create what they call “cross-sensory experiences,” began the incubation process for this collaborative art and technology project including residents of NEW INC at the New Museum of Contemporary Art. Their REIFY platform combines “the best of both physical and digital music technology, and create[s] a new way to experience music,” which we’ve taken a look at before.

They say these totems visually represent an artist’s song. Each one includes coding and hardware which can be played back on a mobile phone or tablet via an app called Stylus.

After some nine months building and testing the platform and collaborating directly with various musicians, REIFY says it’s time to announce a Kickstarter campaign to release the music on totems.

“We’ve designed hundreds of experimental totems for many different kinds of music. Through many beautiful trials and educational errors we’ve established an audio-to-physical design tumblr_no9j7vrawX1u8ph3wo1_1280process where each totem can look and feel as unique as the song it represents…while remaining structurally sound,” they say of their project. “We’ve prototyped our totem fabrication processes to find a balance between creative flexibility and lasting, physical objects. The rewards for this Kickstarter will be 3D printed in PLA plastic, with limited editions cast in bronze.”

The founder and CEO of the REIFY project, Allison Wood, worked with master technologist Kei Gowda, coder David Lobser and UX/UI designer Christine Walthall to come up with the product through their membership at the museum-led incubator NEW INC.

The Kickstarter is part of the team’s contention that they’ve “gained enough traction” to launch a dedicated studio in Bushwick. They say REIFY plans to print whole albums, poems – in fact any other sonic source material – that they think result in a “catchy and new” result.

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Through Kickstarter, the team is seeking to raise $150,000 by August 13th. Backers will be rewarded with incentives ranging from a membership in the REIFY fan club for backers contributing $10 to an early adopter collaboration with a $10K backing. And, of course, a range of totem availability in between.

The totems themselves come a relatively wide range of 3D printing materials which includes plastic, bronze – even coconut husk.

tumblr_nnhds7FtWg1u8ph3wo1_1280The REIFY “augmented reality smartphone app” reads the contours of the totem’s form and then translates that shape back into audible sound waves, and the developers say any sort of sound can be used as source material.

The process begins in collaboration with an artist with a range of visual interpretations of a specific song which take the form of abstract 3D models. The models, based on an artist’s creative goals and automated mapping of various musical attributes, are created via Harmony, a custom audio-to-physical engine and parametric design software.

The totems are then 3D printed, and the “experience” is essentially built using Unity and Vuforia.

Anyone who purchases a totem has immediate and free download access to the free Stylus app.

What do you think of the REIFY process? Will you back the campaign? Let us know in the REIFY Launches Kickstarter forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out their crowdfunding campaign video below.

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