3-D printers use a laser to cure a liquid polymer on its top surface, allowing nearly any object to be created as the level of a platform holding up the object is sunk deeper and deeper into the vat. After the top layer of the object is congealed in the polymer with the laser, the vat is drained and the 3-D object revealed--completely assembled. And with this new Harvard software showing at Siggraph 2012, any animated character can be quickly fabricated using a 3-D printer:: R. Colin Johnson
The 3-D animation character (left) was imaged with a 3-D printer (right) with Harvard software. Photo Credit: Moritz Bächer/Harvard
Here is what EETimes says about 3-D printers: 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.