Marching Cubes Display

Midnight Commercial, Brooklyn, N.Y.



As a summer intern at Midnight Commercial in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, I was tasked with developing a prototype for a 3D monitor. The process began with research into existing means of representing three-dimensional forms in various ways. With the guidance of the M.C. team, I settled on using a material with electronically-controlled opacity called Smart Film. This material was laser-cut into triangles and inserted into a form derived from the Marching Cubes algorithm.

Marching Cubes is an algorithm used to create meshes invented in the late 1980’s. It works by first dividing a model into an array of cubes, and then categorizing each cube as one of fourteen types of surface-cube intersections.

I designed and prototyped a custom smart film triangle controller that could vary the opacity of different triangles in the Marching Cube-inspired infrastructure. The controller can represent any 3D form in space, albeit with relatively low resolution. The process involved designing PCBs in Eagle, assembling and testing them in the electronics lab, lasercutting smart film into triangles, and printing the Marching Cube infrastructure out of clear resin on a Formlabs printer.