Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017

Thanks to software developed at IST Austria, even novice users will be able to easily adjust a 3D-printable mechanism to fit a new shape. The Algorithm will be presented at the prestigious “SIGGRAPH” conference this summer.

Common toys such as steerable cars or waving wind-up figures are available as 3D-printable models, which also contain their mechanical components. However, these mechanical structures are optimized to fit exactly one particular shape of the toy.


Various results of the algorithm. The middle and bottom row show objects that have been fabricated by the researchers using 3D printing.

IST Austria


The mechanisms for a waving wind-up toy is adjusted to fit the shape of a turtle

IST Austria

If designers want to reuse such a mechanism with different shapes, the necessary manual adjustments to the individual components are often unmanageable for non-experts, in addition to being extremely tedious. Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) in collaboration with colleagues from Adobe Research have now solved this problem by developing an interactive design tool that allows users to easily adjust a mechanical template to the shape of their choice.

The software tool, which will be made available in the future, will be presented at this year’s prestigious “SIGGRAPH” conference by first author and PhD student Ran Zhang from the research group of Bernd Bickel.

“Given a car model, there is usually one kind of mechanism that provides the functionality and, at the same time, thousands of different shapes that the car can have,” explains co-author Thomas Auzinger. “Our code bridges this gap and makes it possible to reuse the mechanism across all shapes. It allows for flexibility,” he adds.

People and computers have very different abilities and competences. While humans have an eye for the aesthetics, it is the computer that is best suited at enforcing mathematical constraints and at optimizing the functionality of the generally large number of connected mechanical components, such as axles, gears, wheels, etc. This is why the user and the code interactively work together in an approach that the researchers took for the first time. “Our tool always guarantees functionality, while artists can adjust the mechanical template to fit the design of their choice,” explains lead author Ran Zhang.

Three Austrian artists have tested the program already. The professional 3D-modellers came to visit IST Austria in Klosterneuburg, imported the mechanical template of their choice and adjusted it to fit self-designed 3D-shapes without having to worry about mechanical constraints. Normally, extensive manual adjustments to each of the individual components of the mechanical structure would have been necessary — a task that is tedious if not downright impossible for non-experts. With the newly developed tool, in contrast, adjustment is easy and happens in real time. “Even novice users will be able to create a functional model from the shape of their choice,” says Ran Zhang.

The viability of the novel tool was shown for different mechanical templates: for waving wind-up toys, periodic motions of hand models, steerable and motorized RC cars, and for vehicles with moveable rotors such as helicopters and planes. Each of them can be adjusted to produce a wide variety of differently-shaped figurines and vehicles. “While our result is already quite applicable, I want to point out that it is still an explorative research project,” says Thomas Auzinger. “We took an entirely new modeling approach based on mathematical optimization and showed its viability. It was a proof of concept.”

Professor Bernd Bickel, who previously worked at Disney Research in Zürich and at the Technical University of Berlin, joined IST Austria in 2015. He leads a research group on computer graphics and digital fabrication. Ran Zhang, first author of the study, graduated from the University of Science and Technology of China and is a PhD student in his group. Co-author Thomas Auzinger, who obtained his PhD from the TU Wien, is a postdoc at IST Austria. Co-author Duygu Ceylan who obtained her PhD from EPFL, Switzerland is now a research scientist at Adobe Research. Co-author Wilmot Li, who obtained his PhD from the University of Washington is a principal scientist at Adobe Research.

Find out more about the project here

http://visualcomputing.ist.ac.at/publications/2017/MechRet/

Demo video_Functionality-aware Retargeting of Mechanisms to 3D Shapes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwLNbFNI1uk

Dr. Elisabeth Guggenberger | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: Robots Toys design tool digital fabrication vehicles

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht NASA CubeSat to test miniaturized weather satellite technology
10.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht New approach uses light instead of robots to assemble electronic components
08.11.2017 | The Optical Society

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>