Developed at the Disney Research labs, Printed Optics is a new approach of creating custom optical elements for interactive devices using 3D printing. Printed Optics enable sensing, display, and illumination elements to be directly embedded in the body of an interactive device. Using these elements, display surfaces, novel illumination techniques, custom optical sensors and robust embedded components can be digitally fabricated for rapid, high fidelity, customized interactive devices.
Printed Optics is part of our long term vision for the production of interactive devices that are 3D printed in their entirety. Future devices will be fabricated on demand with user-specific form and functionality. Printed Optics explores the possibilities for this vision afforded by today’s 3D printing technology.
Examples include chess pieces with embedded light pipes display content piped from an interactive tabletop. Contextual information, such as chess piece location and suggested moves, can be displayed on each individual piece. In other examples projected imagery is mapped onto the eyes in toys. The character responds to user interaction such as sound or physical movement. Likewise 3D printed light bulbs could enable many new form factors.