At last year's Geneva Motor Show, engineering firm EDAG unveiled the radical Genesis concept, which featured a futuristic skeletal structure. For 2015's Swiss event, EDAG is once again trying to illuminate the future of car construction—literally.

The EDAG Light Cocoon concept features weatherproof fabric skin stretched over a 3D-printed skeletal frame, and the whole thing is backlit to make the car look like something straight out of Avatar. The design is inspired by the structure of a leaf and was created with an emphasis on sustainability. The fabric material came from outdoor supplier Jack Wolfskin and is very light, weighing four times less than standard photocopier paper, according to EDAG.

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The brand-like 3D-printed structure was designed to provide the necessary strength with only the minimal amount of material required. Since 3D printing works by adding material rather than cutting it away from a blank as in commonly-used machining processes, it allowed designers to control that use of material. Combined with the fabric skin, that yields a car that should be much lighter—and thus, more efficient—than one made using standard methods.

3D printing has received some attention from automakers, and the Light Cocoon isn't the first fabric-covered concept car either. The BMW GINA Light Visionary concept revealed in 2008 had polyurethane-spandex bodywork stretched over an aluminum wire frame.

The BMW was never intended for production, and that's likely the case with the Light Cocoon. Like EDAG's previous concepts, its purpose is to show what's possible with different materials and construction techniques.

The 2015 Geneva Motor Show may not open until March, but it's already generating plenty of buzz. Check out the latest news at our dedicated hub.


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