Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Wise chisels': Art, craftsmanship, and power tools

Date:
November 22, 2013
Source:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Summary:
It's often easy to tell at a glance the difference between a mass-produced object and one that has been handcrafted: The handmade item is likely to have distinctive imperfections and clear signs of an individual's technique and style. A new project melds personal style and technique with computerized control systems.

A carving tool designed by MIT Media Lab postdoc Amit Zoran, called FreeD, allows the user to control the carving process while aided by a computer guidance system that is preprogrammed with the desired three-dimensional shape.
Credit: Image courtesy of the researchers

It's often easy to tell at a glance the difference between a mass-produced object and one that has been handcrafted: The handmade item is likely to have distinctive imperfections and clear signs of an individual's technique and style.

Now, some researchers at MIT are finding ways to blur those distinctions, making it possible, for example, to sculpt items with those distinctive signs of handicraft, while controlling the outcome so that the object doesn't stray too far from the desired form. They described their work at the recent Association for Computing Machinery Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology.

Amit Zoran, a postdoc at the MIT Media Lab who did much of this work as part of his doctoral thesis research, is the lead author of the reports. He says that, in an age of increasing standardization and mass-production, he has been "searching for this human quality, for ways to translate the long heritage of craft and creativity" into the digital age.

For example, in work with graduate student Roy Shilkrot, Zoran has designed a handheld carving tool that can be programmed with a desired three-dimensional shape. When the user begins to carve a block of material, anytime his motions would extend into the region of the desired final form, the device provides physical feedback that slows the motion.

If the carving alters the shape so much that it would compromise the structural integrity of the object, the computerized system can adjust the shape accordingly, in real time. For example, if in sculpting a giraffe the user carved too far into the neck, the computer can adjust the shape, introducing a bend in the neck that maintains its strength.

The basic principles Zoran and his colleagues are pursuing could also extend into physical safety. For example, by recognizing when they might be about to inflict damage, these "smart tools" could sense that a sharp blade is getting too close to a user's fingers, for example, and automatically deflect its path to avoid injury.

"We're developing tools that don't have a direct physical, craft heritage, but are entirely new," Zoran says of a project conducted with graduate student Pragun Goyal. "Creativity is all about error. … We're looking for creativity, for something that surprises us."

To demonstrate the inherent flexibility and creativity of these computer-assisted tools, Zoran had several different people make carvings based on the same programmed shape -- in this case, a cat. As expected, each piece had a unique appearance, with distinctive textures, forms, and styles.

Goyal and his advisor, Joseph Paradiso, an associate professor of media arts and sciences, have also developed a handheld inkjet printer head. The device can be programmed to print a specific image, but instead of moving across a fixed track as in a conventional printer, it can be guided by hand across any surface. This would allow, for example, a highly detailed image to be printed onto a complex 3-D shape -- something no conventional printer can do.

This combination of digital capabilities and human control could permit a new kind of tool for measurement or testing, explains Goyal. For example, a handheld probe could be used to test an electronic circuit board -- but unlike ordinary probes, it could be preprogrammed with details of the circuit. So instead of having to manually set parameters, such as the expected voltage range at a given point, the device would know what range to set, and do so instantly. It would also record the reading and automatically associate each result with the exact location where it was taken.

Zoran, Goyal, and Shilkrot carried out this research with Paradiso and Pattie Maes as part of the Media Lab's groups on Responsive Environment and Fluid Interfaces.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The original article was written by David L. Chandler. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "'Wise chisels': Art, craftsmanship, and power tools." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131122165645.htm>.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (2013, November 22). 'Wise chisels': Art, craftsmanship, and power tools. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131122165645.htm
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "'Wise chisels': Art, craftsmanship, and power tools." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131122165645.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) German researchers have used a fake fingerprint made from glue to bypass the fingerprint security system on Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Porsche CEO Says Supercar Is Not Dead: Cue the Spyder 918

Porsche CEO Says Supercar Is Not Dead: Cue the Spyder 918

TheStreet (Apr. 16, 2014) The Porsche Spyder 918 proves that, in an automotive world obsessed with fuel efficiency, the supercar is not dead. Porsche North America CEO Detlev von Platen attributes the brand's consistent sales growth -- 21% in 2013 -- with an investment in new technology and expanded performance dynamics. The hybrid Spyder 918 has 887 horsepower and 944 lb-ft of torque, but it can run 18 miles on just an electric charge. The $845,000 vehicle is not a consumer-targeted vehicle but a brand statement. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Industry's Optimism Shines At New York Auto Show

Industry's Optimism Shines At New York Auto Show

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) After seeing auto sales grow last month, there's plenty for the industry to celebrate as it rolls out its newest designs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ford Mustang Fetes Its 50th Atop Empire State Building

Ford Mustang Fetes Its 50th Atop Empire State Building

AFP (Apr. 16, 2014) Ford celebrated the 50th birthday of its beloved Mustang by displaying a new model of the convertible on top of the Empire State Building in New York. Duration: 00:28 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins