Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day: 3D Scanner Style

Earth day calls to mind adorable children participating in recycling drives and tree planting ceremonies, spending time in nature, and using 3D scanners to help companies create sustainable products!

Well, at least at Direct Dimensions it brings a reminder of two very cool projects where we utilized 3D scanning technology to help companies create new and exciting products out of recycled materials

Creating the Emeco/Coca Cola Navy Chair

Famed company Emeco teamed with Coca Cola to create a version of their classic Navy Chair out of recycled plastic Coke bottles. 

Recreating the Navy Chair in a new medium presented an engineering puzzle that was best solved using 3D technology. The original version of the chair is carefully handmade in a complicated 77 step process. Each chair, while essentially alike, is handcrafted by artisans with years of experience welding and surface finishing the aluminum. The new 111 Chair would need to retain the exact, iconic look of the original but would have to use a standard injection molding process to work with the recycled Coca Cola material.  The solution (of course) was to 3D scan and model it. Read the full story of how we 3D scanned the Navy Chair.

Helping to Create Green Consumer Goods
To satisfy the changing demands of  consumers, the team at Robinson Home Goods decided to launch a new line of kitchen products called Green Street. The products would be manufactured from material created out of recycled water bottles and packaged in recycled and compost-able materials. The designers even planned on re-using existing injection molds for the prototype phase.

They loved the overall shape of the existing spatulas and spoons but wanted something a little more indicative of the green nature of the product. The design team decided to redesign the slots in the spoon to look more like tree branches. The problem was that they only had old 2D drawings of their existing molds, making a modern CAD redesign almost impossible. They needed to find a way to accurately and quickly reverse engineer the existing injection molds into SolidWorks to facilitate the redesign process. Direct Dimensions stepped in with our 3D scanners and expert modelers to reverse engineer new CAD models of the molds. Read the full story here.

Happy Earth Day from Direct Dimensions!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Case Study: Creating Lifelike Robots


For several years Direct Dimensions has enjoyed working with David Hanson, founder of Hanson Robotics and a pioneer in the field of human-like robotics. Dr. Hanson is considered a leader in the field of social robotics since his robots are created to engage humans socially through conversation and facial movements.

The collaboration with Hanson began almost a decade ago, when Direct Dimensions joined a team working on the Phillip K. Dick robot. The Philip K. Dick android represents the first human-emulating robot complete with artificial intelligence, lifelike facial expressions, and even a human voice. The android not only possesses a human-like physiognomy, it also has the ability to recognize people.

One of the problems in creating a life-like face is fitting the outer shell (in other words, the androids face) to the various internal electronic components. Dr. Hanson wanted to use a 3D computer model to virtually fit these electronics inside. The CAD model would also be used to fabricate the production skull using rapid prototyping.

Find out how Direct Dimensions solved this 3D problem


Friday, April 4, 2014

Museums and the Web Conference

At Direct Dimensions we have been scanning precious art work, artifacts and gallery spaces for museums for years. Some of our earliest projects for museums included scanning sculptures to create miniature versions for giftshops or donors. Other major, early projects we did included scanning sculptures in the famous Cone Collection to be used in a virtual tour for the Baltimore Museum of Art and also scanning Matisse sculptures to support an exhibit, Matisse: Painter as Sculptor , also at the BMA.

It seems fitting then that the first time we attend the Museums and the Web Conference it would be held at the BMA.  The conference is an annual meeting that brings together educators, web developers, curators, scholars and more to discuss their research regarding digital practices and museums/cultural heritage. We are attending the this year to share different 3D scanning technologies that can be used by the museum industry.   3D imaging and modeling technologies provide museums with many options for documentation, conservation, and exhibit development, online user experiences, and quality replicas and merchandise. 
With more 3D scanning options than ever before, and new technology constantly being developed, it is a full time job just to know the right solution. Our digital modelers and 3D scanning experts are excited to share their knowledge and experience with the museum community.