Though you've likely never wondered what it's like to lick a cactus, let alone something more abstract like chicken pox or influenza, Wei Li’s new project, Dangerous Popsicles, uses 3D printing and silicon molding to make this a reality in the form of prickly and sickly frozen treats.
Dangerous Popsicles takes a light-hearted approach to an unusual sensory experience. On Li’s website, she states, “the popsicles are nothing but water and sugar, but ideas of deadly viruses and the spikiness of cacti stimulate a sensory reaction, even before the first taste."
To construct the treats, Li, an SF-based artist and designer, first made 3D model renderings in Rhino and printed the forms with an Object Connex 500 3D printer. After the plastic cactus and virus popsicle models were made, Li created a mold for the popsicles using a two-part silicone casting technique. After the silicone mold was set and emptied, she was able to add her sugar and water mix, put them in the freezer, and make her popsicles.
These spiky and unique shaped popsicles bring a critical eye to design through a mode of fun interaction. By inviting peers to come and try her popsicles, Li created a social space where she could observe reactions to her project and proof of concept to her idea of “user unfriendliness.”