This strange and beautiful object is a 3D-printed violin

A 3D-printed violin is just one of a suite of instruments designed to provide a collaborative experience exploring our relationship with sound.

Michelle Starr Science editor
Michelle Starr is CNET's science editor, and she hopes to get you as enthralled with the wonders of the universe as she is. When she's not daydreaming about flying through space, she's daydreaming about bats.
Michelle Starr
2 min read

Monad Studio

It may look a little (or a lot) like a Klingon weapon, but this sleek 3D-printed object is actually a musical instrument -- in fact, it's a species of violin.

The differences aren't just cosmetic. The traditional four strings have been reduced to just two, and the sweeping shape of the piezoelectric instrument's body is a far cry from the curves of a traditional violin. The structures therein serve to amplify its acoustics in new ways.

Monad Studio

It's just one of five redesigned, 3D-printed instruments created by Eric Goldemberg and Veronica Zalcberg of architecture studio Monad, with musician Scott F. Hall, slated to appear at the 3D Print Design Show in New York on April 16-17 as part of an installation the studio is calling Abyecto, a word meaning abject, heinous, hideous.

The instruments also include a cello, a didgeridoo, and a larger, valved horn instrument called a hornucopia. Rounding out the suite is a a single-stringed, baritone electric guitar -- which sound artist Hall is calling a "Monobarisitar."

What brings all these instruments together is the "rack" into which they integrate when not in use -- the sixth instrument in the series, a sort of 3D-printed mural hung upon the wall.

"The surface of this complex topological environment is further activated and becomes interactive using computer-generated sounds created by composer/computer musician Jacob Sudol. These sounds are emitted directly through the 3D-printed mural by means of handheld transducers that activate the installation as if it were the cones of a speaker to fill the space with constantly changing fields of sonic activity," Monad wrote on its website.

The monobarisitar mounted on the far left of the mural. Monad Studio

"Multiple performers explore the installation with sounding transducers around the work in a performance of a new work by Jacob Sudol titled '...spaces to listen to from within (ii).' Participants can also engage with the installation by touching the sounding transducers against the sculpture to personally explore the work's complex resonant structures."

You can check out a preview of Abyecto in the video below -- including Hall playing his monobarisitar and others exploring the mural with transducers. Visit the 3D Print Design Show website for tickets. You can also find more images of the monobarisitar and mural on the Monad Studio website.