Using computer graphics models and simulations, 3D printers can already produce a wide variety of 3D objects, but the software used in the printers is slow and difficult to use. But as 3D printing technology becomes more mainstream, it will require less computationally complex algorithms,
3D printing poses enormous computational challenges to existing software, the researchers said. In order to fabricate complex surfaces containing bumps, color gradations and other intricacies, printing software must produce a high-resolution model of the object, with detailed information on each surface that is to be replicated. The computer models can often produce petabytes of data, which current programs have difficulty processing and storing.
Matusik and his
To create intricate surface details and the composition of a 3D object, OpenFab uses "fablets", or programs written in a new programming language that allow users to modify the look and feel of an object easily and efficiently.
"Our software pipeline makes it easier to design and print new materials and to continuously vary the properties of the object you are designing," said Kiril Vidimce, lead author of one of the two papers and a PhD student at CSAIL. "In traditional manufacturing, most objects are composed of multiple parts made out of the same material. With OpenFab, the user can change the material consistency of an object, for example, designing the object to transition from stiff at one end to flexible and compressible at the other end."
Thanks to OpenFab's streaming architecture, data about the design of the 3D object is computed on demand and sent to the printer as it becomes available, with little start-up delay. So far, Matusik's research team has been able to replicate a wide array of objects using OpenFab, including an insect embedded in amber, a marble table and a squishy teddy bear.
This video from
In order to create lifelike objects that are hard, soft, reflect light and conform to touch, users must currently specify the material composition of the object they wish to replicate. That's no easy task, as it's often easier to define the desired end-state of an object -- for example, saying that it needs to be soft -- than to determine which materials should be used to make it.
Most Popular Stories
- Bipartisan Budget Deal Gets Key Support in House
- Bitcoin Clones Lurch Onto Financial Scene
- Clinton to Keynote Annual Simmons Leadership Conference
- GM to Stop Making Autos in Australia
- Selena Gomez, Shakira Among Top Hispanic Searches
- PhD Project Grooms Business Profs
- How Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Work
- It's Primary Time in Texas
- How to Survive a Subzero Stranding
- Pacific Trade Pact Delay Hinders U.S. Pivot to Asia