Remixing Physical Objects through Tangible Tools

Follmer, S. "Remixing Physical Objects through Tangible Tools"


In this document we present new tools for remixing physical objects. These tools allow users to copy, edit and manipulate the properties of one or more objects to create a new physical object. We already have these capabilities using digital media: we can easily mash up videos, music and text. However, it remains difficult to remix physical objects and we cannot access the advantages of digital media, which are nondestructive, scalable and scriptable. We can bridge this gap by both integrating 2D and 3D scanning technology into design tools and employing affordable rapid prototyping technology to materialize these remixed objects. In so doing, we hope to promote copying as a tool for creation.

This document presents two tools, CopyCAD and KidCAD, the first designed for makers and crafters, the second for children. CopyCAD is an augmented Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) milling machine which allows users to copy arbitrary real world object geometry into 2D CAD designs at scale through the use of a camera-projector system. CopyCAD gathers properties from physical objects, sketches and touch interactions directly on a milling machine, allowing novice users to copy parts of real world objects, modify them and create a new physical part. KidCAD is a sculpting interface built on top of a gel-based realtime 2.5D scanner. It allows children to stamp objects into the block of gel, which are scanned in realtime, as if they were stamped into clay. Children can use everyday objects, their hands and tangible tools to design new toys or objects that will be 3D printed.

This work enables novice users to easily approach designing physical objects by copying from other objects and sketching new designs. With increased access to such tools we hope that a wide range of people will be empowered to create their own objects, toys, tools and parts.

Related Content