Simulation and Fabrication of a Formable Surface for the Digital Clay Haptic Device
Anderson, Theodore E.
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A formable surface is part of an effort to create a haptic device that allows for a three dimensional human-computer interface called digital clay. As with real clay, digital clay allows a user to physically manipulate the surface into some form or orientation that is sensed and directly represented in a computer model. Furthermore, digital clay will allow a user to change the computer model by manipulating the inputs that are directly represented in the physical model. The digital clay device being researched involves a computer-interfaced array of vertically displacing actuators that is bound by a formable surface. The surface is composed of an array of unit cells that are constructed of compliant spherical joints and translational joints. As part of this thesis, a series of unit cells were developed and planar surfaces were fabricated utilizing the additive manufacturing process of stereolithography. The process of computing the resultant shape of a manipulated surface was modeled mathematically through energy minimization algorithms that utilized least squares analysis to compute the positions of the unit cells of the surface. Simulation results were computed and analyzed against the movement of a fabricated planar surface. Once the mathematical models were validated against the manufactured surface, a method for attaching the surface to an array of actuators was recommended.