Friday, 6 May 2011

3D Graph, meet 3D Printer

So awhile back I ran a stand on robotics and my PhD resarch at a Bristol University public engagement event Changing Perspectives.

One of the most visually assertive parts of my research in robotic movment have been the 3 dimensional plots I use to represent effort considerations in reaching motions. The idea is that the workspace of the robot makes up 2 axis on the graph, while the other axis represents the effort (a combination of graviational and muscular considerations). When planning movements to vertical targets, the robot can aim to keep it's trajectory in the lower parts of the graph, thus reducing effort during movement, as in casual human motion.

Some people find the concept of a 3D graph quite hard to grasp, which is fair enough, so I decided that a nice way to engage the public would be to make the graph tangible. Hence I had it 3D printed.

To make it more inutitive  I then created a contour 'heat' map of the simulation, which I projected onto the surface. This meant that points of high effort were highlighted with 'hot' colours, while low regions were coloured with colder shades of blue. Really this could of done with some projection mapping, but I didn't have much time.

Finally, I simulated the robot moving accross the surface in real-time to give the whole thing some motion and context. Unfortunately I was too busy chatting to the visitors to get a video of the projection on the graph, so here's the raw video:

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