Computer Graphics Laboratory ETH Zurich


Computational Design of Linkage-Based Characters

B. Thomaszewski, S. Coros, D. Gauge, V. Megaro, E. Grinspun, M. Gross

Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH (Vancouver, Canada, August 10-14, 2014), ACM Transactions on Graphics, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 64:1--64:9
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We present a design system for linkage-based characters, combining form and function in an aesthetically-pleasing manner. Linkage-based character design exhibits a mix of discrete and continuous problems, making for a highly unintuitive design space that is difficult to navigate without assistance. Our system significantly simplifies this task by allowing users to interactively browse different topology options, thus guiding the discrete set of choices that need to be made. A subsequent continuous optimization step improves motion quality and, crucially, safeguards against singularities. We demonstrate the flexibility of our method on a diverse set of character designs, and then realize our designs by physically fabricating prototypes.

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author = {Thomaszewski, Bernhard and Coros, Stelian and Gauge, Damien and Megaro, Vittorio and Grinspun, Eitan and Gross, Markus},
title = {Computational Design of Linkage-based Characters},
journal = {ACM Trans. Graph.},
issue_date = {July 2014},
volume = {33},
number = {4},
month = jul,
year = {2014},
issn = {0730-0301},
pages = {64:1--64:9},
articleno = {64},
numpages = {9},
url = {},
doi = {10.1145/2601097.2601143},
acmid = {2601143},
publisher = {ACM},
address = {New York, NY, USA},
keywords = {animation, fabrication, interactive design, linkage design, mechanical characters},
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