Saturday, February 12, 2011

Virtual Car Printed in 3D and Driven on the Street

The photos here are of a real car that previously only existed as a virtual image in a video game and was made into a real street car with the help of 3D printing technology.
Here is something that brings together a couple of contemporary technologies in one amazing design. Take a virtual car that only existed in a video game, add the capability to "print" 3D objects from a computer, and you get the GTbyCitroen - fantasy fulfilled.

A company called i.materialize, that does 3D printing, was asked by Citroën to help build a working, full-size Citroën G, an imaginary car that had previously only existed in the virtual world of the Gran Turismo 5 racing game. This resulted in a real car that is actually driven on the streets and presented in car shows.

The car is fully functional with butterfly opening doors and passed top speed tests at about 200km/h on a racetrack. The exterior design emphasizes speed with a very aggressive racing look (left), while the interior was designed to create an impression that the cabin is virtually on fire (right). For the GT concept, most of the interior was 3D printed.

In his book "Fab", Neil Gershenfeld talked about the coming time when we would "print" 3-dimensional objects from our laptops similar to the way we currently print 2D images. Printers would use solid material rather than ink to "print" real objects. Like any technology this starts out big, expensive and hard to get but very quickly becomes smaller, cheaper and available at Best Buy for home use.

Today we print out our own 2D graphic designs, tomorrow we will print out our own 3D objects, and soon we will be designing and producing our own 4D spaces and places as well as 5D experiences.

Click on the heading above to see a short video and hear the power of this virtual monster car brought to life.

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