GDC Projects Geometric Design and Computation
The Geometric Design and Computation Group actively pursues research in areas related to design, modeling, geometric computations, CAD, manufacture, visualization, human interfaces, and simulation. Below are short summaries of some of our more recent projects. Click on the associated image to learn more about a project.

Alpha_1: Advanced Experimental CAD Modeling System
The Alpha_1 system is an advanced research software base, supporting use and research in geometric modeling (both ab initio and reverse engineering), high-quality graphics, curve and surface representations and algorithms, engineering design, analysis, visualization, process planning, and computer-integrated manufacturing.
Undergraduate Graphics Research Team
Graduate students who pursue academic careers face challenges far different than students who find jobs in industry. One key difference is attaining the teaching and mentoring skills that are a component of the university professor's job. While serving as a teaching assistant helps develop classroom lecturing skills, the mentoring and leadership skills needed to head a research group and guide the next generation of graduate students are rarely a part of the formal doctoral training.

At the same time, persuading undergraduates to join that next generation of graduate students is not always an easy task. Though some students know without a doubt that they will or will not be pursuing graduate school, others are not so certain. For these students, experience can be a critical factor in their final decision. But while vast numbers of internships allow students to "test the waters" of industry, the scarcity of research opportunities hinders most students from gaining this same experience in acedemia. A unique program in the School of Computing offers graduate students an opportunity to enhance their mentoring skills, while at the same time providing undergraduates research experience. The Undergraduate Graphics Research Team (UGRT) links undergraduates and graduate students in research activites.

Volumetric NURBS
Traditional modeling approaches emphasize a boundary representation of solid forms. However, there are many applications where information about aspects of the interior is critical. For example, thermodynamic and stress simulation, material design, and medical/scientific visualization. Our research has concentrated on developing representations for integrating volumetric attributes into solid design. Our recent work incorporates methods from the graphics and visualization communities to guide modeling in an inherently high-dimensional space.
Shadow computation remains one of the more difficult problems in computer graphics. We are using the theory of multivariate weighted polyhedral splines to develop closed-form expressions for exact shadow irradiance.
Virtual Prototyping with Haptic Interfaces
Our goal is to add a sense of contact and manipulation to the CAD design of mechanical assemblies. Part interaction, assembly, and manipulability can then be evaluated without fabrication of physical prototypes. A haptic device allows forces of contact to be simulated, such as surface tracing, assembly forces, and grasping.
APE: Active Prototyping Environment
Physical prototyping is fastly becoming too expensive to be part of the design process. For this reason much research has focused on what has become called virtual prototyping. This project investigates issues concerned with extending virtual prototyping to be "active" virtual prototyping. Where active is used to indicate that the designer can interact on a physical level with the design (ie haptically) while simultaneously interacting within a virtual design environment.
Minimum Distance Computations
Minimum distance computations are useful in robotics, animation and interaction. We have efficient methods for finding the minimum distance to both polygonal and parametric (NURBS) surfaces. Surprisingly, the distance to a NURBS surface is not necessarily slower to find than the distance to a polygonal model.
Geometric Constraints for Interactive Assembly and Dynamical Modeling
The kinematics and dynamics of mechanical systems with surface and curve contact constraints, flexible surface characteristics, and a variety of design parameters is an area largely unexplored in terms of design optimization and surface modeling for dynamics and collision.
Digital Image Morphing
Digital image morphing smoothly blends between two reference images. Morphing has become a popular special effects for film and television. In this project, we produce an elastic mesh from a constrained triangulation of user-defined control polylines. Energy minimization produces a smooth morph over the image.
Automatic Non-photorealistic Technical Illustration
Phong-shaded 3D imagery does not provide geometric information of the same richness as human-drawn technical illustrations. We have developed a non-photorealistic lighting model which attempts to bridge this gap. Our model, based on traditional techincal illustrations, allows shading to occur only in mid-tones so that edge lines and highlights remain visually prominent. These illustration methods give a clearer picture of shape, structure, and material composition than traditional computer graphics methods.
Haptic Paint
Our haptic painting project allows textures to be directly painted onto 3D models using a haptic device. The haptic device provides natural contact cues to the user. By sampling texture pixels near the point of contact, we can overcome the distortion of mapping from texture space to the 3D model.
Concurrent Integrated Design and Manufacture (CIDAM)
The intent of the CIDAM project is to extend the notion of geometric modeling to encompass the greater process necessary to produce the actual part and/or assemblies, thereby opening the way for a considerable degree of automation of the integrated design and manufacturing process.
Multiphase Integrated Engineering Design (MIND)
The goal of the MIND project is to develop key enabling technologies and tools to support integrated product design across design phases and disciplines from early stage designs through manufacture for electromechanical products.
The goal is to create a highly flexible and responsive design environment that can be used to evaluate an order of magnitude more design alternatives than is possible today in an attempt to optimize product characteristics (such as performance, manufacturability, assemblability, quality, reliability, and maintainability), and quickly prototype complex products and processes.

Last update: Jan 6, 2000