As we all know, hurricanes are one of the America’s main environmental problems and every year the lives of millions of people are at stake – a terrible thing for the U.S. If we can’t make them disappear, we could as well turn those hurricanes into something less terrifying, is what Francis Reddy, a science writer at NASA, must have thought. He decided to 3D print this year’s Hurricane Iselle into an actual object.
The results are stunning, as you can see on the image. It makes you think of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures sleeve, which was an image of radio waves made by Peter Saville – yes, that’s the one from the t-shirts. It kind of has a similar structure. Back to Francis Reddy, then: what he did was using images made by a satellite in order to 3D print a hurricane and turn this terror into art.
It wasn’t easy for him to find suiting images for his work, Reddy tells our colleagues at 3Dprint.com:
“The time-consuming thing was finding the right set of image. You want flat lighting because in this technique the gray value of the pixel is translated to height, so highlights from sunlight striking the clouds at an angle create false elevations. The infrared image doesn’t have this problem, but the visible image, which reveals the most detail, does. Once I found what I was looking for, I merged the images in a way that was pleasing to me, generated and simplified the mesh, and sent it to the printer.”
This is solely an art project and nothing scientific, says Reddy to 3Dprint.com. He adds that he’s only a beginner when it comes to 3D printing. Nevertheless, we think he did a marvelous job. We mean: have you ever seen a hurricane like this before? Seeing a hurricane in a 3D printed version makes you think of the structure of planets as well. It kind of looks like a crater from Mars, doesn’t it?
Printing natural disasters, however, is not something new, as earlier this month a man has 3D printed an earthquake. Is this the new 3D printing trend? And will our future Unknown Pleasures band shirts become 3D printed ones? Who knows, only time can tell, but surely this is an amusing use of the technique.
Image credits: Francis Reddy.