A team of graphic designers and computer scientists at Harvard created a neat piece of software that brings you right back to your childhood. Do you remember the time when you were a child and couldn’t go anywhere without your action figures? They were fun to play with and encouraged your imagination. Toys have become more sophisticated since then, but action figures will always be popular.
This Harvard team created software that translates video game characters (or other 3D animations) into CAD files ready for 3D printing. This is not just a simple copy paste way. No, each 3D model is analyzed and the software creates instructions for 3D printers including articulation.
How does it work?
They used models from the video game Spore to test their software. This particular game allows players to design different model types using a simplified rendering program. In order to fabricate these designs using a 3D printer, Harvard researchers developed a software tool that creates a CAD model. To add articulation, the software identifies the most logical locations for joints and determines the best size and location for the joints for the real-life model.
The next video shows the analyzing process and application of articulation to create the best possible real-life model.
This is a very promising piece of technology that can be applied way outside the entertainment area it is applied in now. Think of the possibilities if you added printed electronics to the mix. Then you might be able to create on-demand robots.