Cilllia makes breakthrough in designing 3D printed hair

  • Nimish Sany
  • 31 December , 1969

3D printing hair strands, bristles and such of fine thickness and resolution has always presented a challenge to designers. In fact, it is not the printing but the designing of literally thousands of such fine bristles that makes it a tenuous task for designers to 3D print wigs, brushes, etc.

Texture of 3D printed hair

A group of researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology has devised a solution to the very demanding need of designing each bristle intended for a wig or a brush or what-have-you. A team of students including Jifei Ou, Gershon Dublon, Chin-Yi Chen, Liang Zhou, Felix Heibeck and Hiroshi Ishii has come up with Cilllia - 3D Printed Micro-Pillar Structures for Surface Texture, Actuation and Sensing, a software that allows designers to define the density, thickness, angle and physical dimensions of the strand with a few clicks; thus saving you the hassle of going through AutoCAD and designing each strand.

texture of 3D printed hair

The researchers are however concentrating their efforts to create hair artificial hair that provides the intended qualities of natural hair while possessing advanced features like sensing, self adjustment etc. The description on the MIT website reads:

“Looking into the Nature, hair has numerous functions such as to provide warmth, adhesion, locomotion, sensing, a sense of touch, as well as it’s well known aesthetic qualities. This work presents a computational method of 3D printing hair structures. It allows us to design and generate hair geometry at 50 micrometer resolution and assign various functionalities to the hair. The ability to fabricate customized hair structures enables us to create super fine surface texture; mechanical adhesion property; new passive actuators and touch sensors on a 3D printed artifact. We also present several applications to show how the 3D-printed hair can be used for designing everyday interactive objects.”

SEM image of hair strand

The Study was presented  at the Association for Computing Machinery's 'CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems'  held from May 7 – 12 at San Jose, CA, USA.


Nimish Sany: I bleed my thoughts on paper. And if I cant find a paper, blogs serve the purpose just fine.

Popular Articles
Twitter feed
Site Designed and Developed by Monu John