Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Earthquake Data Inspires Techie Art

"Catastrophe Becomes Art With 3D Printing"
Sarah Mitroff, Geek Tech, blog, PCWorld (November 1, 2011)

"It's been almost eight months since the massive 9.0 Tōhoku earthquake hit Japan, leaving devastation in its wake. In an attempt to extract art and beauty out of that terrible event, British artist Luke Jerram has created a 3D-printed sculpture of the seismogram (the read-out from a seismometer) from that earthquake.

"Called the 'Tōhoku Japanese Earthquake Sculpture,' the piece is 11 inches long by seven inches wide and is made of frosted beige-yellow rings. Jerram constructed the piece by taking the design from a nine minute span of seismometer data from the earthquake and creating a 3D image with a computer aided design program. Then he printed the design using a rapid prototyping machine...."

(Photo and sculpture by Luke Jerram, via Wired, used w/o permission)

It's remarkable, what folks can do these days. The sort of information technology Luke Jerram used to create this sculpture is, the Lemming has read, generally used to make parts for in-development gadgets and machines like automobile engines. Not exactly 'artsy' stuff.

The Wired post is a nice-enough piece, giving the writer's impression of the sculpture. There's also a link to photos and a video on the sculptor's website. (

What the Lemming didn't find in the Wired article - or the page that the link leads to - was anything about what that warm beige material was. Some sort of synthetic, presumably: but that's guesswork on the Lemming's part.

As far as the Lemming's concerned, it's an attractive piece of art - and an intriguing application of modeling technologies.

The Tōhoku earthquake is what some folks are calling 東日本大震災 - that huge earthquake that hit parts of eastern Japan back in March. Maybe you read about it: The Fukushima power plant was international news for quite a while after the quake and tsunami, and other places didn't fare too well either.

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