Vidimce, K., Kaspar, A., Wang, Y., Matusik, W.
Foundry: Hierarchical material design for
multi-material fabrication. In
Proceedings of the 29th Annual Symposium on
User Interface Software and Technology,
2016, 563–574; http://dl.acm.org/citation.
With 3D printing, users can design
every aspect of an object: they can
create a specific appearance (for example, a desired shape, color, and
reflectance), a specific feel (for example, by printing tactile textures
or by using soft materials), and they
can make an object perform a desired
function (for example, using conductive materials for printed electronics
or optical clear materials for printing
Functional properties can also be
achieved by designing the internal
structure of an object—for example,
making an object stand by redistributing its infill to shift its center of mass.
Finally, by using microstructures with
structurally varying cells, researchers
have shown how to emulate different
material behaviors using a single material (so-called metamaterials).
This paper provides an editing
environment for designing such
multimaterial composite objects.
Composing a set of operators into an
operator graph creates the material
definitions. The operators are implemented using a domain-specific language for multimaterial fabrication,
and users can easily extend the library
by writing their own operators.
Umetani, N., Koyama, Y., Schmidt, R.
and Igarashi, T.
Pteromys: Interactive design and optimization of free-formed free-flight model airplanes. ACM Transactions on Graphics 33, 4
(2014), Article 65; http://dl.acm.org/citation.
Professional CAD tools require years
of engineering training to gain the
necessary expertise as they provide
fine control over every parameter
in the design. HCI and graphics re-
searchers have looked at how to cre-
ate design tools that abstract away the
necessary domain knowledge by let-
ting users specify the shape and mo-
tion of the desired object; the system
then simulates the mechanical be-
havior and either critiques the user’s
design or automatically adjusts the
design to make it comply with respect
Consider even the simple example
of designing a paper glider as presented in this paper. Depending on
the orientation of the glider, it will be
subject to drag forces that make the
glider resist the airflow and lift forces
that move the glider upward. All forces depend not only on the shape of the
glider, but also on its velocity and orientation at a certain moment in time;
thus, they are constantly changing
as the glider moves through the air.
This creates a large parameter space
that is infeasible for the user to tackle
manually. The design tool described
in this paper lets users design the
shape of the glider, and as they design, provides real-time feedback on
the flight performance.
From Batch-Processing, To Turn-Taking,
To Direct Manipulation For Physical ‘Data’
Willis, K.D.D., Xu, C., Wu, K.-J.,
Levin, G., Gross, M.D.
Interactive fabrication: New interfaces for
digital fabrication. In Proceedings of the 5th
International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction, 2010, 69–72;
When simulation is not possible, such
as when testing the aesthetics and ergonomics of a design, users have to
fabricate the object to evaluate it. Since
3D printing is so slow, users have to
think carefully before printing, as every
mistake may imply another hour-long
or even overnight print.
Planning every step, however, is
not feasible for nontechnical users
as they lack the experience to reason
about the consequences of their de-
sign decisions. To solve the problem,
researchers proposed repeating the
evolution of the user interface from
personal computing for personal
fabrication. Computing also started
with machines that ran a program in
one go overnight. Then turn-taking
systems such as the command line
evolved, which provided users with
feedback after every input; finally, di-
rect-manipulation interfaces (such as
today’s multitouch devices) provided
users with continuous feedback dur-
ing editing. Applying the same inter-
action concept to fabrication results
in a workflow that looks quite differ-
ent from what is seen today.
In the new “interactive fabrication”
workflow presented in this paper, users
work hands-on on the physical workpiece using physical tools (much like
in crafting), and see the physical workpiece change immediately as they edit.
The fast feedback loop allows users to
evaluate every intermediate step, allowing them to adjust their decisions along
the way. This potentially makes editing
of physical data as easy as editing digital data on a multitouch device today.
When will personal fabrication reach
consumers? The journey has only just
begun. If the starting point is deemed
to be 2009 (that is, when the first patents ran out and the first low-cost 3D
printer, the MakerBot Cupcake CNC,
appeared on the market), then we are
clearly still at the very beginning of
putting personal fabrication into the
hands of consumers.
If personal fabrication today feels
like a niche technology for hobbyists,
it is most likely because there are still
decades to go. We should look at the
in-between progress with patience.
The success of other technologies
such as personal computing could
certainly not have been predicted until decades after their inception (
consider the words of Thomas Watson,
president of IBM, in 1943: “I think
there is a world market for maybe
If personal fabrication should turn
out anything like personal computing in its adoption, we still have an
amazing journey ahead of us.
Stefanie Mueller is an assistant professor in MIT’s
electrical engineering and computer science department,
joint with mechanical engineering, and is a member of
MIT CSAIL. She develops novel hardware and software
systems that advance personal fabrication technologies.
Patrick Baudisch is a professor of computer science at
Hasso Plattner Institute at Potsdam University and chair
of the Human Computer Interaction Lab. Previously, he
worked as a research scientist in the Adaptive Systems
and Interaction Research Group at Microsoft Research
and at Xerox PARC.
Copyright held by owners/authors.
Publication rights licensed to ACM.