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Nervous System Creates Generative Jigsaw Puzzles

The design studio turn their skills to toy making.

Cast your mind back, deep back into the recesses of your memory when you were too young to pick up a joypad, and instead your abundant leisure time was filled with jigsaws. There would be pieces all over the living room floor, sticking to the bottom of people’s feet, no doubt getting lost under the couch. But jigsaws were fun—at least, up until you couldn’t find the last few pieces and threw the uncompleted board in the air in frustration.


Anyway, design studio Nervous System, who specialize in 3D printed jewelry and computational designs have made generative jigsaw puzzles, with artworks from digital artists, combining this traditional toy with modern techniques so your kids can have a bespoke, one-of-a-kind toy and be able to appreciate some generative art in their playtime.

Using custom software that simulates crystal growth, Nervous System create an organic pattern for the puzzle pieces, then carve them into plywood using a laser cutter. For the series, they’ve collaborated with some of our favorite digital artists to create vibrant and engaging designs that are as much art as they are toy.

They say about the project:

We wanted to create a style of jigsaw pattern that was truly our own, combining our interest in the morphology of natural patterns with the opportunities for diversity provided by generative techniques. The puzzle generation system we created is one of the most complex design programs we have created. The system has several stages: piece initialization, core simulation, tolerance checking, and export. Additionally we must account for arbitrary puzzle shapes, inserting whimsies figures, and varying cut styles.

[via Creative Applications]