Resembling a hybrid spaceship/sea urchin, the exterior of the small-scale prototype of the Theater of Lost Species imbues audiences with a sense of wonder. The mixture of organism and machine goes beyond the surface thanks to astute design and a MakerBot® Replicator® 2 Desktop 3D Printer. Species from the Past, Archived for the Future It may look like a spaceship, but it’s actually a time machine. Created by the Future Cities Lab, an experimental design company, the Theater of Lost Species is a virtual aquarium populated by marine species that have been extinct for millions of years. “The idea is to create a real-time digital archive of every instance of every species that has ever lived,” said Jason Kelly Johnson, lead designer at Future Cities. Designing with a MakerBot 3D Printer Jason and his fabrication team initially planned to create the curved modules that covered the Theater of Lost Species out of thin plastic shells. But they realized that the panels could be strengthened with the hexagonal infill automatically generated in MakerBot® MakerWare™. So the team thickened the modules’ cavities, creating a strong, lightweight structure that leaves space for electronics and wiring. They then fitted the modules like puzzle pieces into a complex structural chassis constructed out of 3D printed connectors and small laser-cut cross beams. Jason remembers thinking, “Wow, we can actually 3D print this thing!” See it Now The small-scale prototype of the Theater of Lost Species will be on exhibit at the YBCA in San Francisco through February 2nd, 2014 in order to raise awareness and funding for a full-scale prototype.