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Invisible Light Network, an NYC-based creative studio specializing in interactive and experience design presented a 3D printing project at this year’s SXSW festival’s #FEED event. The #FEED event featured a number of artists and designer-types who combine the best of music and interactive art into a showcase of incredible experiences and innovative products. We had a moment to talk with ILN founder Elliot Blanchard about his new Shapeways API program that lets you wear ‘Purple Haze’ on your arm.

The NU Bracelet

Through the use of audio analysis, generative 3D code, and 3D printing, Elliot and his team at Invisible Light Network were able to define physical structures through the elements of an audio sample. Through creating physical objects through sound and code, ILN is in essence providing musical audiences new ways of promoting their musical taste sans tie-dye t-shirts and Facebook Likes. NU’s custom fabrication code uses six pieces of musical data:

  • The BPM of the song determines the overall complexity of the folding pattern
  • Beat emphasis determines the ratio of folding from left to right
  • Syncopation determines the ratio of folding from front to back
  • Beat intensity controls the depth of the folding pattern
  • Song length determines how far the holes extend
  • Rythmic Complexity controls the ratio of the inner ring’s folding scale to the outer ring’s folding scale
  • Frequency distribution determines the depth of the inner ring’s folding pattern

The XX: Angels

Fennesz: The Colour of Three

Bad Brains: Fearless Vampire Killers

We had a second to catch up with Elliot about the NU and were able to grab a little more info from him:

How did you get started with 3D Printing and how did the NU come about?

NU is purely an experimental, self-initiated project for us. We’ve always been into design exploration. and 3D printing seemed like an interesting way to apply our existing background in CG and coding in a new way.

What was the experience at SXSW like? Did you gain any good feedback?

It was our second year at SXSW (they previously presented a short film) and we absolutely loved the experience. We got to meet incredible people, and Austin is a great place to spend a week. Can’t recommend it enough.

How are you doing your 3D printing?

Shapeways is our fabrication partner and we use their Laser Sintered Nylon Plastic and UV Cured Acrylic Polymer. They’ve been fantastic to work with. (ILN is part of Shapeways’ new API network)

Do you have plans to Kickstart the NU?

Not at this time. We’ve already got the project up and running, so we don’t need any additional support. We do love Kickstarter!

What’s your favorite NU bracelet so far?

Hard to say. Favorite in terms of complexity at this point would be a double layer print of the Johnny Cash track Hurt. Having said that, also enjoyed the simplicity and elegance of the single layer print of the Fennesz track The Colour of Three.

How does a user order a NU and how much will it set them back?

They can order directly through our website and the price depends on the order option, but they usually range between $50 and $100.

For more info on Elliot and his projects head to Invisible Light Network


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.