ERJ staff report (DS)
Zurich, Switzerland - â€œComputational Design of Rubber Balloonsâ€ is the title of a paper due to be presented by Dr MÃ©lina Skouras and Dr. Bernhard Thomaszewski at Eurographics in Cagliari, Italy on Friday, May 18th.
The paper will demonstrate how to design an initial deflated balloon and then produce a mould or former using a 3-D printer.
The system works out how a membrane deforms as it is inflated under
pressure, and then reverses that process to get from the desired
inflated shape back to the deflated condition. This is the basic shape of the former. The balloon is then created from the former. When inflated, the balloon will adopt the desired shape - such as a rabbit or indeed the head of Mickey Mouse.
The researchers did not say if they can apply extra material to certain points of the former, in order to develop specific geometries, or indeed, if such extra material is necessary. However, they noted that sharp, geometric edges are difficult to achieve with inflated models.
Skouras is part of a team at ETH in Zurich (EidgenÃ¶ssische Technische Hochschule ZÃ¼rich). In an on-going research effort with the Disney Corporation, the team has been attempting to develop systems which can create novel shapes in inflated materials.
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List of papers at Eurographics (Scroll down to final paper or search on â€œrubberâ€)
Home page of researcher Bernhard Thomaszewski from Disney Research