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Enlightening Endeavors

  • FATHOM - East Bay EDA 2015 Trophy
  • FATHOM - East Bay EDA 2015 Trophy
  • FATHOM - East Bay EDA 2015 Trophy
  • FATHOM - East Bay EDA 2015 Trophy



For the third consecutive year, FATHOM developed and manufactured an inventive new trophy for the 2015 East Bay Innovation Awards hosted by East Bay EDA (Economic Development Alliance). Inspiration for this year’s 3D printed trophy came from reverse-engineering the concept of lithopanes—revealing a 2D grayscale image by shining light through a specifically textured piece of material—to create a topographical map of the East Bay out of a grayscale image, lit throughout with a half-tone plate that showcases FATHOM’s innovative approach to form and function.

East Bay EDA Trophy Colorful Lights


Faced with the challenge of locating a topographical map of an area that measures nearly 700 square miles, FATHOM’s design team turned to a digital elevation model (DEM). DEMs depict topographical maps as grayscale images with the darker spots indicating lower elevation points and white spots indicating the highest points. Upon loading a DEM of the desired region into Rhino modeling software, designers were able to create a mesh that would become the 3D map of the entire East Bay.

Because the initial mesh produced by Rhino was so dense, designers subsequently turned to Magics software to digitally whittle away highways that made the map difficult to read. They also carved out negative space to display each winning company’s name and logo within the map itself. To develop a base with an impeccable finish and a more intricate and elegant fixture for the internal lighting system, designers utilized SolidWorks.

Once the 3D CAD had been completed, FATHOM’s production team took advantage of the Objet500 Connex3’s multi-material capabilities to fabricate the trophies out of various materials with specific finishes to enhance particular design elements. The map on the body of the trophy was 3D-printed in VeroWhite with a glossy finish to highlight the fine details of the topography and encased in VeroClear so all the design elements would be visible. The fixture for the lighting and electronics was printed in ABS-like material for durability.


To build upon the glowing base featured in the 2014 model, FATHOM designers included a clear plate with different-sized white dots to create a half-tone pattern. This pattern strategically distributes photons from the base LED system to evenly illuminate the entire body with a single light source; just one of many ways in which FATHOM has leveraged advanced technologies and concepts to produce optimal results.

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→ FATHOM Named a 2015 Winner