Geometry Character Recognition System

Synchronizing Virtual and Physical Models for Industrial Shape Design

Overview
Engineers and designers often work with both virtual and physical models of the object they are creating. However, if they modify the physical model of their design in order to change or improve its function, they must make the same changes to the virtual design or the two will be out of sync. This technology allows the designer to take a 3D scan of the physical model that automatically updates and synchronizes it with the designer’s virtual model. 

Market Opportunity
Industrial designers work with both physical and computer models for good reason. Computerized tools such as CAD allow for making changes quickly and rapidly iterating on an idea. But the designer working with virtual models alone may find it difficult to visualize how their creation will look and act in the real world, and many designers prefer the tactile feel of working with a physical object in order to understand and improve on it.  

Suppose, then, that a designer 3D prints an object, then uses power tools to add to or subtract from the object. At this point, the two models are out of sync. To fix it, the designer would need to manually make the same changes to the computer model or scan the current physical prototype to create a new computer model to match it. Existing laser scanners can create accurate 3D models of real-world objects, but they are prohibitively expensive for many users and require too much time to be useful for iterative development. Industrial designers need an affordable, easy-to-use method for making sure their computerized models stay connected to their work in the machine shop. 

Innovation and Meaningful Advantages
The innovation by Gabriel Taubin and colleagues allows for the creation of a complete, watertight surface from an array of points on the surface of an object. The algorithm creates a highly accurate surface from an array of points that can then be used as an effective tool for surface feature matching. In this way, it can be used to quickly and affordably scan an object and create an accurate virtual model in three dimensions. 

This marks a significant advancement compared to current rendering systems that use algorithms to generate dense point clouds. From a computer perspective, the points generated by such a system are disjointed relative to one another, which makes it nearly impossible to generate an accurate representation of a surface. While this invention pushes the limits of computer vision, crucially it requires no camera calibration, no tripods, or special lighting, meaning the entire process could be completed quickly, easily and cheaply by anyone.

Collaboration Opportunity
We are interested in exploring 1) startup opportunities with investors in the industrial inspection and design space; 2) licensing opportunities with industrial inspection companies.
 

Patent Information:
Category(s):
Software
For Information, Contact:
Brown Technology Innovations
350 Eddy Street - Box 1949
Providence, RI 02903
tech-innovation@brown.edu
401-863-7499
Inventors:
Gabriel Taubin
Donald Sanders
Keywords:
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