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BBL: A New Genre of Human Computer-Interaction and Interfaces for 3D Creative Design and Fabrication

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This week at HCIL BBL, we have the pleasure of having our own Professor Karthik Ramani (Purdue University) speak to us on the topic of A New Genre of Human Computer-Interaction and Interfaces for 3D Creative Design and Fabrication.

Time11/16 (Thursday) from 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Place: HCIL, Room 2105Hornbake building – south wing
Lunch: Pizza!


The convergence of many factors such as low cost sensors, electronics, computing, machines, and more recently machine learning have created the potential for changing the way users engage with the physical world. This talk will explore and demonstrate how we can create new geometric interfaces and interactions that leverage our knowledge of the physical world for 3D design and fabrication. These new methods and tools enable users to personalize designs using new machines. In the first part of the talk we will explore how any consumer with little knowledge of computers can repurpose everyday objects and or shapes and quickly customize them to foldable constructions. Such constructions are then used to create robots in the physical world. In the second part we will see how new interactive workflows using a smart phone and tablets with pen-and-touch interfaces can be used for collaborative 3D design ideation. As a result of low thresholds and simple user interactions with lower cognitive loads, users are shown to explore multiple creative pathways. In the last part of the talk we will examine how a new deep learning technique, “SurfNET”, transforms a single image into 3D shapes and even hallucinate shapes that it has not seen. We envision a future with personalized manufacturing interfaces that lower the barrier for many to participate in the design and fabrication processes.



Karthik Ramani is a Professor in the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. He earned his B.Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, in 1985, an MS from Ohio State University, in 1987, and a Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1991, all in Mechanical Engineering. He has worked as a summer intern in Delco Products, Advanced Composites, and as a summer faculty intern in Dow Plastics, Advanced Materials. He was awarded the Dupont Young Faculty Award, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Initiation Award, the NSF CAREER Award, the Ralph Teetor Educational Award from the Society of Automotive Engineers, Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, and the Ruth and Joel Spira Award for Outstanding contributions to the Mechanical Engineering Curriculum. In 2002, he was recognized by Purdue University through a University Faculty Scholars Award and won the NSF partnership for innovation award. In 2005 he won the Discovery in Mechanical Engineering Award for his work in shape search. In 2006 he won the innovation of the year award (finalist) from the State of Indiana. He developed many successful new courses – Computer-Aided Design and Prototyping, Product and Process Design and co-developed an Intellectual Property course. In 2007 he won the only Research Excellence Award throughout the College of Engineering at Purdue University. He also serves as the chief scientist at Imaginestics, a knowledge-based software company that has launched the worlds first on-line search engine for the global supply chain. He serves in the editorial board of Elsevier Journal of Computer-Aided Design.. In 2008 he was a visiting Professor at Stanford University (computer sciences) as well as a research fellow at PARC (formerly Xerox PARC). He is also serving on the Engineering Advisory sub-committee for the National Science Foundation ( Industrial Innovation and Partnerships)for 2007-10. His has been supported by National Science Foundation, Los-Alamos National Labs, Zimmer, Bell Helicopter, Sika Corp., Wabash National, Kemlite, Dow Plastics, Alcoa, Proctor and Gamble, St. Vincent’s Hospital, U.S. Army, Defense Logistics Agency, National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, Imaginestics, PLM center, General Electric, and National Institute of Health.
The newly formed C Design Lab represents its focus in the gelatinous space at the intersection of design, art and science of geometric computing, and engineering. While his research lies at the intersection of mechanical engineering and information science and technology, the areas span design and manufacturing, new kernels for shape understanding using machine learning, geometric computing and human-computer natural user interaction and interfaces with shapes and sketches. A major area of emphasis in his group are computer support for early design, shape searching, sketch-based design, cyber and design learning, sustainable design, and natural user interfaces for shape modeling. He is also currently serving on the NSF Advisory Committee for the SBIR/STTR program of the Industrial Innovation and Partnerships program. In 2006 and 2007, he won the Most Cited Journal Paper award from Computer-Aided Design and the Research Excellence award in the College of Engineering at Purdue University. In 2009, he won the Outstanding Commercialization award from Purdue University and the ASME Best Paper Award from technical committees twice at the IDETC. In 2012 his labs paper won the all conference best paper award from ASME-CIE. He has published over 200 peer-reviewed papers, over 90 Journal publications; over 70 invited presentations, and granted 10 patents.