Dr. Michaella Janse van Vuuren pulls together multiple disciplines, from her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in Computer vision, a post-doctorate in medical implant design, to being an internationally renowned 3D print designer, artist, and innovator in education.
Michaella started her journey with 3D printing in 2006. In 2008, she founded Nomili, an innovative interdisciplinary research, consulting, and 3D printed product development studio. Subsequently, she established CREATENEERING – “Where the Arts meet Engineering”, an educational project that teaches engineering and the arts.
Her Chrysanthemum centrepiece was voted the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa at Design Indaba 2009.
In 2012, she was the VISI emerging designer of the year and in 2014, she was named one of the City Press 100 world-class South Africans. In 2017, she was honoured internationally as one of the 40 Most Influential Women in 3D Printing by All3DP magazine.
That certainly is a list of honours and accomplishments. Well done Michaella!
In an interview with Nora Toure for Women in 3D Printing, Michaella was asked …
Nora Toure: Michaella, could you let us know about your background and what brought you to 3D printing in the first place?
Michaella Janse Van Vuuren: My youth was spent immersed in fine arts, I experimented with puppetry, video installations, body art and 2D digital design. In my twenties my interests diverted and I found I wanted a deeper understanding of Engineering and technology. I was awarded my PhD in Electrical Engineering in 2004 for developing a software program to automatically detect, track and label human poses and actions in video footage. Although I loved the research, it took many years of study and writing code. I was yearning to find a way to express my artistic talents.
Nora Toure: Can you describe your very first experience with 3D Printing?
Michaella Janse Van Vuuren: I still remember vividly the first time I came across 3D printing. I was working in South Africa in 2005 as a digital sign language recognition researcher. I saw a picture online of an object being printed, it fascinated and excited me and I knew I had to figure out a way to work with these machines.
In the following year, I took up a Post Doctorate fellowship in medical implant design, the only way I could access rapid prototyping at the time in South Africa. I felt I needed a serious technical arsenal to be able to make my own digital fantasies real, what I found instead is that everything you need to learn can be found online.
Nora Toure: To date, what would you say is your greatest achievement in Additive Manufacturing?
Michaella Janse Van Vuuren: The Horse Marionette, a design that can only be manufactured using additive manufacturing and 3D prints with all its parts assembled. The sculpture is part of the Science Museum in London’s permanent collection. It is a proud achievement to have an artistically acclaimed piece exhibited in the science museum for being technologically cutting-edge.
You can read the rest of the interview on the Women in 3D printing website.
The horse Marionette is printed in SLS, the file sent to the printer has all the interlocking parts in place and requires no assembly afterwards. I previously liked the white form, so reminiscent of Greek statues, but now felt that it was time for the horse to have some colour and the Delft horse emerged.
I will never lose my absolute amazement at the objects and precision I can conjure in partnership with companies like Akhani 3D. The Delft Robotic horse puts this on centre stage.Dr. Michaella Janse van Vuuren