Tool Lets Designers Mold Digital 3D Models With Their Hands

Purdue University researchers have developed Shape-It-Up, which allows designers to create and modify items using gestures.

Purdue University researchers have developed the Shape-It-Up design tool, which allows designers to create and modify digital 3D models with their hands instead of a keyboard or mouse. The tool interprets hand gestures, like a natural user interface, and uses specialized computer algorithms and a depth-sensing camera.

Tool Lets Designers Mold Digital 3D Models With Their Hands

Captured by a Microsoft Kinect camera, the user creates shapes by interacting with a virtual workspace as the shape is displayed on a large-screen monitor, and the resulting creations can be produced with a 3D printer. The tool could have applications in areas including games, architecture, art and engineering design.

The team will demonstrate the technology at the Maker Faire this weekend in the San Mateo County Event Center. Karthik Ramani, Purdue University’s Donald W. Feddersen Professor of Mechanical Engineering, said:

Our goal is to make the designer an integral part of the shape-modeling process during early design, which isn’t possible using current CAD tools. The conventional tools have non-intuitive and cognitively onerous processes requiring extensive training. We conclusively demonstrate the modeling of a wide variety of asymmetric 3-D shapes within a few seconds. One can bend and deform them in various ways to explore new shapes by natural interactions. The effect is immediate.

Shape-It-Up

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