Project: New Interactive and Innovative Technologies for CAD

The aim of this project is to overcome the traditional approach to surface modeling of current 3D CAD systems by introducing new methodologies and technologies based on subdivision surfaces. These innovations would allow designers and engineers to transform quickly and intuitively an idea of shape in a high-quality geometrical model suited for engineering and manufacturing purposes._x000D_Subdivision surfaces have a long history being studied for more than 30 years now. They had a big success in entertainment industry since the famous usage of them by Pixar in the movie “Geri’s game” and now are part of every 3d modeller of that sector (e.g. Maya, 3d Studio). Their flexibility and the fact that they represent a superset of the standard mathematical surface representation NURBS (Non Uniform Rational B-Spline) easily suggests that they can be the future for all geometric data. Unfortunately, after all these years, we must observe that their presence in Computer Aided Design is negligible. Only one major CAD provider_x000D_(Dassault) is offering them, but limited inside a specific module (called “Imagine and shape”) and presented only as a tool for conceptual design. The CO roadblock that had limited the usage of subdivision surfaces in CAD systems is the fact that the quality achieved by current representations is very far from the requirements that a model must achieve for being suitable in the engineering and manufacturing phases of design. This has confined their application in situations like games or early conceptual design where the precision and quality of the shape is not important. If someone was able to extend their usage also in “precise” CAD systems this would be a great step forward because we would get the flexibility and expressive power of subdivision surfaces keeping the quality and precision needed. The second roadblock for subdivision surfaces in CAD has been the fact that the workflows and the UI used in games and in conceptual design are rather different from those needed in engineering. The usual definition and editing of surfaces in those environments rely on the usual approach of starting from a simple shape (e.g. a block) and then to add details by pulling points and/or splitting faces. But for engineering purposes we need much wider and controlled ways of defining and editing models. So this project aims at surpassing both the above roadblocks and creating a system that can represent a new generation for modelling and design. In particular we will develop new mathematical representations to achieve precision and quality and we will integrate it with all the other mathematical representations present in a commercial CAD system. Then we will develop new interactive ways to define and modify surfaces, including a fast reverse engineering approach for quick shape acquisition._x000D_The proposed project involves six participants from Italy and France, where the CO participant is THINK3 (Italy) which is a R&D-performing SME. Since the project purpose is a market-oriented research and development, the participants are from University and Industry. Their joint contribution aims at the development of three results: a prototype of software module for subdivision surfaces for CAD, a prototype of software module to allow for fast shape definition (design and editing of meshes for subdivision) and fast reverse engineering based on subdivision surfaces and using innovative devices. These modules will be integrated in thinkdesign CAD system from think3. Finally, a design and realization of a prototypal wireless haptic devices, endowed with vibrotactile sensors, which will be developed to enable an easy and intuitive 3D input/editing available at low cost and with low power consumption. _x000D_The market impact of these innovations can be very significant because the project will have benefits for the CAD user decreasing the barrier to complex shape modelling that now is very high due to the complexity of the traditional approach where the surfaces defining the model are built one by one using cumbersome commands._x000D_The project consortium is targeted to cover all the challenges of this task: think3 is a leading provider of CAD systems and will provide the environment and the base system to build upon. The mathematical part is covered by the Universities of Bologna and Valenciennes that have a long record in working on geometric modelling issues. The part related to advanced input devices and methodologies will be covered by Valtiberina Informatica that has had success in developing low-cost 3d input devices and by the Engineers from the Universities of Bologna and Valenciennes whose research activity will drive the Valtiberina Informatica efforts. As testing and validation we have Alessi and Golliat that represent trustable names for design and engineering of products in Europe and around the world._x000D__x000D__x000D_

Acronym NIIT4CAD (Reference Number: 5115)
Duration 14/07/2010 - 13/07/2014
Project Topic The aim of this project is to combine a powerful geometric engine, integrating new subdivision surface representation, with an interactive technology which provides an easy and intuitive ways for shape acquisition and interaction improving the performance and flexibility of CAD systems.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
The software module on advanced 3D modeling with subdivision surfaces, that complements the existing Thinkdesign CAD product offer, has been realized. It is quite innovative because it's not limited to the conceptual design phase but extended to the engineering and manufacturing design stages._x000D_This is now part of the commercial Thinkdesign 2014 product.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 3

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
8 EXEL s.r.l. Coordinator Italy
8 SAFE S.R.L Observer Italy
8 DPT Partner France
8 University of Valenciennes Partner France
8 ALESSI S.p.A Partner Italy
8 THINK3 S.R.L. Observer Italy
8 Golliat et Didier Partner France
8 Alma Mater Studiorum –University of Bologna, Research Centre of Applied Mathematics (CIRAM) Partner Italy