It seems there's little that you can't create with 3D printing; we've recently seen lingerie, guns, rocket engines, musical instruments and even rooms. French artist Gilles Azzaro, however, uses the technology to capture something much more abstract. His 3D-printed sculptures of voice recordings resemble alien landscapes, with high and low tones represented as peaks and troughs. Instead of only hearing the rich tones of Barack Obama's State of the Union speech, you can see them too, in Azzaro's latest sculpture entitled "Next Industrial Revolution."
Interestingly, in the 39-second clip of Obama's voice, the president expresses his views on how 3D printing could potentially revolutionize the way things are made.
To materialize a person's spoken words into a more permanent form, Azzaro created programming software that could digitally reconstruct a person's voice in three dimensions, which he subsequently patented. His early attempts at creating sculptures out of these voice prints suffered without access to the right tools, but all that changed when 3D printers came along.
Converting the snippet of Obama's address into a three-dimensional image took the software about five hours. The final beautifully-contoured 5-foot (1.5-m) voice sculpture took around 350 hours to print, using a desktop 3D printer. Weighing about 6 kg (22 lb) in total, the interactive sculpture lets a person see the part of the speech they are listening to, as a laser light passes over it.
Aside from immortalizing Obama's voice, Azzaro has also created voice sculptures of Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Neil Armstrong, Marilyn Monroe, John F Kennedy and others.
Check out a video of Obama's voice sculpture, and a video showing how it was made, below.