L'Artisan Electronique (roughly translated as "Electronic craftsman") is a new system recently debuted by Belgian design firm Unfold. The system is essentially a ceramic printer linked to virtual pottery wheel, driven by open-source software.
The virtual potter simply moves their hands within a motion-sensing frame (again, much like Tom Cruise in Minority Report), with both a green laser and a camera tracking gestures real-time. When the potter is satisfied with his creation, he then hits a large "Save" button. The virtual ceramic piece is compiled, then sent to a queue for a modified REPRAP 3D printer to process.
Though L'Artisan Electronique is a decidedly modern piece of technology, it follows the methodology employed by old-school potters. The user builds by manipulating virtual material with his hands, and the 3D printer actualizes the finished project by gradually stacking up coils of clay.
Whether the system will replace the traditional method of turning clay remains a question. But L'Artisan Electronique is proof that even the most subjective of creative processes can be reduced into something computer systems understand.