Beyond Excel : Give life to your data with 3D Printing
Until recently the 3D Printing industry was focused primarily on bringing digital representations of products to life. Designers and mechanical engineers were using additive manufacturing technologies to simply turn their 3D models into real objects, which populate our daily life. Volker Schweisfurth decided to take the technology a step further, as he uses 3D printing in a radically new way. He was among the first ones to imagine a way to visualize data with 3D printed sculptures. Instead of following the digital-to-reality path developed by 3D printers, he instead develop a way to give life to data through 3D printing.
Based in Germany, Volker Schweisfurth, has paved a new way for anyone willing to display data in creative way. He explains:
“Until now, online services were focused primarily on creating objects for industries that are deeply rooted in everyday life like miniatures, figurines, jewelry. But the meta-world of data was largely ignored.”
As he underlines, clients and coworkers interpret information in a multitude ways, and the key metrics of a spreadsheet during a presentation are not always perfectly relayed with a simple 2D graph. Having a physical object on the table allows the audience to hold and interpret the data in their own hands.
“Clear and concise data representation is important when it comes to all interpretation styles. A 3D representation offers the ability to really knock home a certain data set with everyone that will see it.”
This new way of representing data also allows people to see facts they might otherwise not realize at first glance.
“People probably will not go rummaging through the internet looking to find a report from the World Bank about population estimations in 2050, they may never realize that the population of China will be quickly passed by that of India!”
And he might be right. The 3D printing offers a quick and inherently interesting way to understand the information without other data convoluting the message.
Schweisfurth has been focused primarily on bringing demographical data to life. Prints that, for example, could be displayed by national or international administrations to visually represent their data.
“This makes an easy way to compare the evolution of populations over 5 a year cohort depending on the gender of individuals. This kind of data is easy to map in color on a 3D model and the precision of the print can display the differences between man and women with an accuracy of 1-2mm between heights,” states Schweisfurth.
However, in the future, 3D printed data sculptures will probably populate boards meetings, consultancy firms and redaction rooms. One of the main reasons for that is that big startups and big companies will soon start offering software to directly export data in a 3D model. This trend will be helped in its development by an accessible price for those 3D sculptures. To make those statistics real, Volker used our multicolor material.
“When I started the project I had a rough idea of the cost of such a thing, but I didn’t expected it to be that affordable. Some of the infographics I turned into 3D didn’t cost more than 30 euros and it’s possible to make almost any statistic dramatically pop for under 100 euros.”
For more information on Schweisfurth’s work check out his shop in our online marketplace. Otherwise, think of Sculpteo when getting your data off the screen.