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Innovation at the intersection of design, technology and medicine.

aaron pearson
Aaron Pearson March 25, 2020
March 25, 2020

The voxel is a basic unit for 3D printing multiple materials. Similar to how pixels are organized on digital display screens, voxels can be placed in different patterns to control how a 3D printed object will behave. This level of control, alongside powerful data sets and innovative technology systems, has the potential to change the landscape of 3D printing. Combining the voxel level print details, with the sharing of anatomical data sets in a collaborative way affords new opportunities for collaboration between design and medicine within the field of orthotic care.

Creating Value from Emerging Innovation

This is the premise laid forth by Voxel Harvest, a design and manufacturing research venture emerging from the Singapore University of Technology and Design  started by Professor Sayjel Vijay Patel and Architect Nathan Kiatkulpiboone. Voxel Harvest introduces a new manufacturing platform to support multi-disciplinary data-sharing and design collaboration with the SUTD Digital Manufacturing and Design Center. Using authored and automated image data-sets, this system allows teams to create custom orthotic devices with high-resolution textures and micro-structures, opening up a whole new world of orthotic care possibilities specific to patient needs.

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Three-dimensional texture and material programming of voxels for the Stratasys J750.

Voxel Harvest’s meta-material programming capabilities open the door for new and unique bio-medical and wearable design. By programming voxel data sets, a user can add microscopic features that help control pressure and temperature. As a proof of concept,Voxel Harvest was used to design a custom orthotic device to treat a foot injury using compression and temperature control.

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Detail of embedded microstructure programmed to accommodate pressure points

Using textured structures to act as a second skin, micro-structures to control elasticity and durability and fluidics to modulate temperature and material expansion, this new technology could enhance patient treatment plans by tailoring multifunctional products to their specific needs. To learn more about Voxel Harvest, check out the video below that shares an example of their forward thinking work.

Voxel Harvest: Metamaterial Programming from Nathan K on Vimeo.

Voxel Harvest is the recipient of the 2018 Red Dot Design Award Honorable Mention. The Red Dot Award is an international design competition for product design, communication design and design concepts. Their designs will be on display through 2019 at the Red Dot Design Museum in Singapore.  Sayjel Vijay Patel is currently a Founding Professor at the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation and Nathan Kiatkupiboone is the Innovation Lead at Blink Design Group. To learn more about their design innovations and their work, follow them on Instagram.

Sayjel Vijay Patel 

Nathan Kiatkupiboone