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Digital Digestion

The digital world is moving faster than we could have ever imagined. Even 3D printing is not considered ‘crazy’ anymore. Time to look for some ‘red wire’ throughout all this. Meet the ‘UTANALOG’ by Unfold, a ‘Utah teapot’ that was eaten by a computer in 1975, digested, and spat out again by 3D printing.

The 3D image of a simple, ordinary teapot was taken into the digital world by Martin Newell in 1975. Newell worked at the University of Utah and made the mathematical data of the teapot available to other researchers. This resulted into all types of transformations of the teapot: it receiving a leopard-skin, fur, translucent surfaces, etc. The Utah teapot became a standard reference object in the computer graphics community. But all along this teapot stayed safely inside the computer.

With 3D printing around, the Utah Teapot has come full circle: from being a computer model based on an actual teapot to being an actual teapot based on a computer model. It is often intentionally rendered as a blocky, low poly-object to celebrate its origin as a computer model, as it was done by Unfold to make the Utanalog, a fully functional teapot that shows its status as an icon of the digital world.

Designanne van assche