We went through many whiteboard-, conversation-, pagefuls of ideas, some reasonable, most not. 57aMP was our one success. (We had many, many other failures. RIP, photobomb; and another success, 57fire)


What if you could create physical stamps using the heat?

In 57aMP, we made a thermal touch pad, which turn from black to white when heated. We digitalized the thermal input into a 2D stamp using a mobile camera. While powering the pad with heat, the user could watch the real-time visualization via web. Finally, 3D stamp models were generated from the thermal input and we use 3D printer to make physical stamps from the heat.



  1. mix paint (with care, you're turning pigment into paint)
  2. paint acrylic, one layer at a time
  3. interact with the paint: hands, tea, whatever
  4. have iPhone/iPad watch the surface (passive, periodic pictures)
  5. discretize images into a black/white grid (which can be represented as a binary string)
  6. convert said strings into 3d stamps (via custom tinkercad shape generator)
  7. print 3d stamps
  8. play with stamps: apply ink and print, heat up and heat-stamp the painted acrylic, the sky's the limit

Repeat (3) - (8) as much as you like. Repeat (1) - (2) as needed. Optionally watch the web interface to see what the camera is seeing.


The paint's actually a bit finicky. (Turning pigment into paint was an experience.) But mostly, we're just sad it doesn't turn clear -- it turns white (ish).

Body heat does work, but it takes a few seconds (longer if your hands are cold). Hot water works best for immediate black-white color change, but takes a while (ten minutes or so) to fade back to black. (Maybe that's why these people wiped down this thermochromic-nichrome-based clock.)



  1. Kornyakov, Kirill, and Alexander Shishkov. Instant OpenCV for IOS. Packt Publishing Ltd, 2013.
  2. Bradski, Gary. "The OpenCV Library." Doctor Dobbs Journal 25.11 (2000): 120-126.
  3. ThinkPHP Framework. http://sourceforge.net/projects/thinkphp/.
  4. AFNetworking.framework. https://github.com/AFNetworking/AFNetworking
  5. jQuery: The Write Less, Do More, JavaScript Library. http://jquery.com/
  6. MySQL: The World's Most Popular Open Source Database. http://www.mysql.com
  7. Dazzle: https://github.com/lichtschlag/Dazzle


photo gallery

side project

  • 57fire
    • The interactive fire in the holographical display is controlled based on the the percentage of white dots from the thermal input.
    • The user could also play with the fire by touching the camera on the iPhone. It turns your camera into a button to control the illusion!

57fire: Create live fire illusion in holographic display using heat from Ruofei Du on Vimeo.