Visualizing the brain activities was a dream for many scientists for many years. The mystery or complex brain behavior and how it receives and control our lives was a source for many questions and theories. The 3D printing is taking this mystery to a new level by visualizing the brain activities in the form of 3D printed artworks.
In Franklin Institute exhibition, visitors go through number of visual experience that interact with their brain activities through neural network climbing structure with other sound an flight effects that are generated while walking in this experience. The idea of converting the brain white matter activities to a 3D printing is described by Dr. Jayatri Das, Chief Bioscientist at The Franklin Institute as following:
“Our philosophy behind our exhibits is to make real science approachable through hands-on, engaging exhibits,” said Dr. Das. “From an educational point of view, we knew that the concept of functional pathways needed to be an important aspect of brain science that was addressed in the exhibit, and diffusion tensor imaging gets to the heart of the real science through which scientists try to understand the wiring of these pathways. The 2D images we had seen were really beautiful, so we thought that a large-scale 3D print would be perfect as an intriguing, eye-catching sculpture that would serve as both a unique design focus and a connection to research.”
The 3D printing for this complex form was a challenge as it needs great experience in order to print the white matter complex shapes. So, the institute collaborated with Direct Dimensions, a company that is specialized in 3D printing extremely complex models.
“This work required a highly skilled technician with just the right disposition. Without the right human resources, this project would have never happened,” said Harry Abramson, Art Director for Direct Dimensions. “With about 2,000 strands to sort through, it was a task of immense proportions. Mind boggling in fact.”
Both Direct Dimensions and American Precision Printing work together using sProHD 60 SLS 3D printer from 3D Systems with SLS technology. As the model size was larger than the 3D printer volume, it was printed into 10 pieces and gather them into one final piece.
The images below show the 3D printed pieces and the process to gather them into one final model.