Protopiper: Physically sketching room-sized objects at actual scale

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
UIST 2015 - Proceedings of the 28th Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, 2015, pp. 427 - 436
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Physical sketching of 3D wireframe models using a handheld plastic extruder allows users to explore the design space of 3D models efficiently. Unfortunately, the scale of these devices limits users? design explorations to small-scale objects. We present protopiper, a computer aided, hand-held fabrication device that allows users to sketch room-sized objects at actual scale. The key idea behind protopiper is that it forms adhesive tape into tubes as its main building material, rather than extruded plastic or photopolymer lines. Since the resulting tubes are hollow they offer excellent strength-to-weight ratio, and thus scale well to large structures. Since the tape is pre-coated with adhesive it connects into tubes quickly, unlike extruded plastic that would require heating and cooling in the kilowatt range. We demonstrate protopiper?s use through several demo objects, ranging from more constructive objects, such as furniture, to more decorative objects, such as statues. In our exploratory user study, 16 participants created objects based on their own ideas. They rated the device as being "useful for creative exploration", "its ability to sketch at actual scale helped judge fit", and "fun to use.".
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