Augmented Reality to Fabricate 3D Digital Designs Using Robotic Printer

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Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Cornell University are developing a robotic assistant to fabricate 3D digital designs.

The system combines augmented reality (AR) with robotic modeling, which is named as Dubbed the Robotic Modeling Assistant (RoMA). Researchers are focused on developing advanced prototyping machine. It features augmented reality headset and two controllers. System is programmed with computer-aided design to build 3D model. The system allows users to design primitive 3D models on one side of a platform while the robotic arm fabricates the object on the other. Robotic arm constructs a skeletal model using a simple plastic depositing 3D printer mounted on hand.

This method can have applications in 3D sketching with more control than pen. “With RoMA, users can integrate real-world constraints into a design rapidly, allowing them to create well-proportioned tangible artifacts,” said Huaishu Peng, team leader of research. “Users can even directly design on and around an existing object, and extending the artifact by in-situ fabrication.” Furthermore, the device is programmed to respond actions of designer. During the action, designer can touch the handle of the platform and rotate it to bring part of the model forward. As soon as designer walks away from the printing platform, robotic fabricator controls the platform to finish the printing task.

The system is currently limited to primitive, skeletal designs that pale in comparison to some of the more sophisticated 3D-printed objects. Peng believes that the system has potential to help streamline design and 3D fabrication in near future, which can pave the way for more collaborative projects. However, many companies are working on integrating Artificial intelligence into 3D printers. Research team will be presenting work on RoMa in April 2018 at the Human Computer Interaction conference.

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