It’s easy enough to draw simple stuff on thick carpet piles, which is why some people use them as a message board. Just run your finger through the fluffy surface and you can leave whatever impression you want as new fibers are flattened and raised, whether it’s short notes, stick figures, or basic shapes. Try fashioning anything more complicated, however, and you’ll likely just end up with an unintelligible mess. Unless you use something like the Graffiti Fur Roller.
Designed by Yuta Sugiura, the device looks like a handheld vacuum, at first glance. Rather than sucking up dirt, however, it’s rigged to “print” out images onto the carpet by raising and flattening individual fibers. You’ll need to move it across the width of the carpet by yourself, but the electronics and the software will take care of identifying its position and deciding which parts of the rug to raise or flatten.
To use, simply import an image onto Graffiti Fur’s software and convert it into a format that can be emblazoned onto carpet fibers. From there, you simply fire up the roller and run it through the surface, going from left to right and top to bottom. The system takes around 20 minutes to finish a rug sized like the one used in the sample pictures. They also recommend spraying the entire rug with laundry starch after “printing” in order to preserve the picture for longer (it will retain the raised and flattened fibers better even when stepped on).
While this, obviously, has limitations on the kind of details it can leave, the thing should work great for portraits, close-up shots, and plenty of other types of images. Definitely well beyond the stick drawings you can do when simply running a finger through a rug.
Graffiti Fur was among the showcased projects at Vancouver SIGGRAPH 2014, the annual computer graphics and interactive technologies exhibition.