Posts tagged 'research'

Printer printing printer parts

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

3D Printers are becoming cheaper every day.

3D Printers are becoming cheaper every day.

Nate Anderson at Ars Technica reports an interesting claim in this article about the legal and IP issues surrounding 3D printing technology. The makers of RepRap, an open-source 3D printing platform, claim that there are now more open-source 3D printers in operation now than there are commercial 3D printers. While the claim isn’t independently verified, it raises an interesting question: Will greater availability of inexpensive hardware create the critical mass of users that allow 3D printing to become a part of regular peoples lives? A lesson may be drawn from a similar revolution just ten years ago.
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Rolling through the dial with Radioball

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Teague's RadioballI usually prefer to write about tools, processes and methods here, but when I see a project that so completely exemplifies the values and priorities within a design process, I just can’t help but want to share it. Teague’s RadioBall is one of those projects. Go ahead and watch the video after the jump:
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Sketchpad – A Look Back.

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

In 1963 Ivan Sutherland developed Sketchpad. In developing what was to be part of his phd thesis, Sutherland pioneered what would come to be known as the graphical user interface, parametric constraints and the very concept of object-oriented programming, which he developed in order to better manage memory on the limited capabilities of the machines he was working on.

Much has been written about Sketchpad, Sutherland and all of the developments in HCI, computer science and engineering that continue to flow from his work. In the context of this site however, it’s important to note that Sutherland’s innovative engineering solutions were all driven by the desire provide people the ability to express themselves more intuitively with technology. The application precedes the solution.

“A display connected to a digital computer gives us a chance to gain familiarity with concepts not realizable in the physical world. It is a looking glass into a mathematical wonderland.” –Ivan Sutherland.

Everybody Loves to Sketch!

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

ILoveSketch No-Cut Demo: Spacecraft from Seok-Hyung Bae on Vimeo.

iLoveSketch was presented at the SIGGRAPH 2009 Emerging Technology Conference in New Orleans.

iLoveSketch is similar to SketchUp in that its primary goal is to transfer the cognitive burden of creating 3D forms from the left brain to the right. Users can easily view, create and manipulate 3D forms through gestural commands on a pen tablet. Common commands such as defining drawing planes, generating curves, trimming lines and creating surfaces can be done with one hand by variously looping, scribbling and ticking. The iLoveSketch system interprets these gestures and executes commands that with any other 3D modeling application would require some combination of keyboard commands or toolbars.

From the abstract:

We present EverybodyLovesSketch, a gesture-based 3D curve sketching system for rapid ideation and visualization of 3D forms, aimed at a broad audience. We first analyze traditional perspective drawing in professional practice. We then design a system built upon the paradigm of ILoveSketch, a 3D curve drawing system for design professionals. The new system incorporates many interaction aspects of perspective drawing with judicious automation to enable novices with no perspective training to proficiently create 3D curve sketches. EverybodyLovesSketch supports a number of novel interactions: tick-based sketch plane selection, single view definition of arbitrary extrusion vectors, multiple extruded surface sketching, copy-and-project of 3D curves, freeform surface sketching, and an interactive perspective grid. Finally, we present a study involving 49 high school students (with no formal artistic training) who each learned and used the system over 11 days, which provides detailed insights into the popularity, power and usability of the various techniques, and shows our system to be easily learnt (sic) and effectively used, with broad appeal.

Watch an interview with iLoveSketch’s principal researcher Seok-Hyung Bae, Ph.D.

iLoveSketch was produced at the University of Toronto’s Dynamic Graphics Project within the Department of Computer Science.


Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Scratch InstructionsThe Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab has released Scratch, a new graphical programming environment designed to teach fundamental aspects of computer programming in a fun and easy-to-understand way. Kids can create games or stories while learning basic concepts of logic and programming.

The community aspect of Scratch is cool as well – because the environment is java-based, kids can upload their creations to the scratch website and comment on each other’s creations. I’m interested in seeing if the sharing aspect of scratch can elevate to the next level, where kids can complete a series of tutorials in order to learn more advanced capabilities of the system. If the satisfaction of completing a programming challenge was as satisfying as completing a level in a video game, kids’ investment in Scratch might continue beyond the academic user-testing-group and community-outreach testing environment that it no doubt was born in.

Scratch can also be controlled by a custom hardware controller, allowing kids to create projects that are controlled by a slider, button, light sensor or microphone.

Scratch Website
SEE ALSO : Lego Mindstorms NXT

Siemens learns about efficiency from Video Games

Saturday, March 24th, 2007

Businessweek has an article by Reena Jana on a new design tool that focuses on game-like usability to increase productivity. The Game Engine Modelling system, developed by Rich McDaniel for Siemens, uses game engine graphics and physics modelling to aid factory-automation designers in designing more efficient factories.

GEM achieves this time-savings with the help of an easy-to-use editing tool that allows designers to select from a library of shapes, physics attributes, and other elements from a simple drop-down Windows menu. They can also type in specifics to match real-world measurements and actions. [...] Workers training with GEM software navigate just as they would a PC game, using commands and keys that correspond with on-screen movement

There is one detail in the article that stood out for me that I felt that Jana touched on but didn’t give the attention I thought it deserved: While simulation systems are in wide use in the automotive and aerospace industries, where tolerances and safety concerns demand it and budgets allow it, with this project what Siemens is really doing is developing a simulation technology for the masses. This ‘democratization of simulation’ will open up new markets in mid- and small-scale factory operations that might otherwise not have been able to afford Siemens’ services. Much of what I wrtie about on this site is ephemeral or pie-in-the-sky, but if this project bears out, it will be a great example of ‘sketching’ technology enabling people to create real value on an industry-wide scale. : Siemens’ New Game Strategy

Plug and Play Hardware Prototyping

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006 is a combination hardware and software system that makes prototyping hardware interfaces fast and easy. With it, inexperienced test subjects were able to re-create an ipod interface in a half hour. The fact that subjects without training in electronics or software development can achieve so much with this tool is extraordinary. What stands out most about this system is that it is generalized (you can create any combination of inputs and interface elements) and specific (intended for use in designing electronic product interfaces.) Like many of the tools I’ve written about,’ insistence on not being everything to everybody, while maintaining a broad enough feature set to be a useful tool for rapid ideation is a strength. While interfaces developed using may not be tightly integrated into a development process, I can only imagine that when using it as a system for validating ideas and testing multiple solutions could solve many problems down the road in product development.

Some recent developments in the system are particularly exciting to me: I was exctied to see new support for Arduino, Phidgets and Wiring. The system was also on display at the 2006 Maker Faire in San Francisco, and a new hardware design (left) has been developed, which means that it lives on. was developed at the Stanford HCI Group.

Dynamic Physical Rendering

Thursday, June 15th, 2006

Check out this video. It’s a concept video that ETC students produced to demonstrate applications for Dynamic Physical Rendering, an Intel-funded research effort to develop ‘programmable matter’, technology for creating self-constructing 3D objects on the fly.Watching the video, I imagine the car designers offing themselves in their garages after their work is literally squashed and warped at the whim of a CEO. Regardless, assuming that something like this will become viable in the coming decades, I am interested to see the ‘software’ interface that enables you to reshape a 3D model by manipulating a physical object itself. When the corporate flunkie in the video tucks and shapes the car, how are they controlling what points on the model they are manipulating, or what tool they are using? Will a second input device be needed, or can the ‘claytronics’ hardware shape and color itself into a ‘hard’ software UI?

From an Interaction Design angle, this seems like the hardware analogue to Jeff Han’s Multi-Touch Interaction Research at MRL and other research at MIT’s Tangible Media Group and that the marriage of multi-touch and gestural interaction methods with dynamic physical rendering will open up stunning new methods of creating and shaping physical objects with human hands.

In the meantime, I wonder whether we aren’t better off just teaching people how to sculpt rather than creating advanced tools that do essentially the same thing?