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Put your hands in the air!

Shape-It-Up makes the designer an integral part of the early design, shape modeling process. Video courtesy Karthik Ramani.

Researchers have developed a design tool for creating 3D objects with their bare hands. Using a depth-sensing camera and advanced software algorithms to interpret hand movements and gestures, it’s possible to model a wide variety of 3D shapes within a few seconds.

“With Shape-It-Up, our goal is to make the designer an integral part of the shape modeling process during early design, in contrast to current CAD tools, which segregate 3D sweep geometries into procedural 2D inputs, in a non-intuitive and cumbersome process requiring extensive training,” says Karthik Ramani, the Donald W. Feddersen Professor in the school of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, in Indiana, US.

"It allows people to express their ideas rapidly and quickly using hand motions alone,” Ramani says. “We're democratizing the design process. You don't have to be an engineer to use this.”Ramani is the director of C Design Lab, where mechanical engineering and computer sciences meet to create geometry-inspired algorithms for natural creation, reasoning, and sensing and response to both virtual and physical artifacts.

- Amber Harmon

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