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.
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
Demo video_Functionality-aware Retargeting of Mechanisms to 3D Shapes
Dr. Elisabeth Guggenberger | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers
20.07.2018 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore
Study suggests buried Internet infrastructure at risk as sea levels rise
18.07.2018 | University of Wisconsin-Madison
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences