Towards a Co-Design of Geometry and Functions

We are looking towards a future where a wide range of fabrication machines--from desktop 3D printers to industrial robotic arms--will allow end-users to create functional objects of their designs. For end-users, traditional Computer-Aided Design tools are notoriously difficult to use, as they require complex and tedious tasks of manipulating low-level geometry. In my research, I develop computational design tools that enable end-users to express and convey high-level ideas into fabrication-ready 3D models. For example, Encore lets users specify how they want to extend the functionality of existing objects, and provide computational solutions to print extension parts directly onto, around or through these objects; Reprise allows users to specify how they want to adapt existing objects for accessibility, and generates add-on structures to mechanically modify the usage of these objects; Forté enables users to sketch their design and annotate functional descriptions of the object, while the system in the backend optimizes users' designs to fulfill the functional requirements. I will describe an achitectural framework underpinning all these tools, where the ultimate goal is to achieve the co-design of geometry and functions for end-user fabrication.

Xiang 'Anthony' Chen is a PhD student working with Scott Hudson and Stelian Coros from the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University. His research develops technical and design approaches to build novel human-computer interfaces that enhance users' physical interactivity with ubiquitous computers, or enable their creativity in fabricating physical objects of their design (e.g., using 3D printing). Anthony is an Adobe Research Fellow in Human-Computer Interaction. Frequently collaborating with industrial research labs (Microsoft, Autodesk, and Google), he has published 13 papers in top-tier HCI conferences and journal (CHI, UIST, and TOCHI) and has received two best paper awards.