Japanese artist Aki Inomata has 3D printed custom shelters for her hermit crabs. Her work entitled “Why Not Hand Over a ‘Shelter’ to Hermit Crabs?” is being shown at the “memento vivere/memento phantasma” exhibition which is being held at the French Embassy in Japan.
She was inspired by the moving of the French Embassy, in which the land it sits on was part of France and now is part of Japan and in effect changed its nationality. This reminded her of her hermit crabs which change the shells they inhabit from one to another.
To help her crabs feel at home she first 3D scanned the interior surface of a shell that was no longer lived-in and then built her custom shelters based on these models.
“Hermit crabs are selective in choosing their shelters. Therefore, I decided to CT scan and capture the detailed 3D images of the unoccupied sesashell which one of my hermit crabs had abandoned. Based on those images, I modified and slightly enlarged them with a 3D modeling software, and then produced several types of shelters with a rapid prototyping system. Finallly I gave those shelters to my hermit crabs.”
To fit into the theme of the French Embassy in Japan, Aki made shelters modeled on a Paris apartment style and a Tokyo house style.
After 3D printing the hermit crab homes she gave them to her hermit crabs to try and to her delight she saw that one of her crabs chose the 3D printed home rather than a natural seashell.