Animated characters brought to life by 3-D printing
August 03, 2012 // R Colin Johnson
The virtual world is being brought to life by reverse engineering the rendering operation that draws on-screen characters in video games and other software animations. Harvard University researchers will describe a patented new algorithm that uses three-dimensional printers to create personalized action figures from animations at next week's Siggraph 2012 show in Los Angeles.
Software animations create both realistic and fanciful characters, but their makeup and capabilities need not match those that are possible in the real world. Harvard's software, however, translates the primary characteristics of the on-screen characters into articulated components that together realize a figurine that can be created by a 3-D printer.
By observing the on-screen appearance and actions performed by the character, the Harvard algorithm determines the ideal locations for the character's joints—either ball-in-socket or hinged—then optimizes their size and location using the physics of the real 3-D world. Once the reverse rendering operation is complete, a detailed file is sent to a 3-D printer, which creates a completely assembled version of the action figure.
The Harvard researchers expect their invention to be useful not only for personalized action figures for consumers, but also for professional animators who today create mannequins by hand. With the reverse rendering algorithm, animators will be able to quickly create action figures which they can use to experiment with different stances and motions in real world recreations of virtual worlds.
Harvard’s Office of Technology Development has filed a patent which it aims to license to a cloud-based service that will used 3-D printers to create customized, user-generated figurines from existing animation software.
Funding for the product was supplied by the National Science Foundation, Pixar and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. All news
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Internet of Things (IoT) manufacturer Ciseco has launched the Raspberry Pi ‘Wireless Inventors Kit’ (RasWIK), featuring 88 pieces to provide everything a Pi owner needs to follow a series of step-by-step projects or to create their own wireless devices, without the need for configuration or even writing code.
RasWIK has been designed to be highly accessible, demystifying the dark art of wireless and enabling anyone with basic computing skills to begin building wireless devices with a Raspberry Pi. You can create anything from a simple traffic light, to a battery monitor, or even a temperature gauge that sends data to the Xively IoT cloud so billions can access the data.This month, Ciseco is giving away twelve Raspberry Pi Wireless Inventors kits, worth £49.99 each for EETimes Europe's readers to win.
And the winners are...
In our previous reader offer, Farsens was giving away five kits for EEtimes Europe readers to evaluate its FenixVortex, Kineo and X1 wireless, battery free sensor tags.
Lucky winners include Mr A. Neil from the UK, Mr. E. Delvaux from Belgium, Mr Lengal from the Czech Republic, Mr H. Bijlsma from the Netherlands, and Mr G. Pfaff from Germany. All should be receiving their packages soon. Lets wish them some interesting findings with their projects.
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