Xplore Engineering

Xplore Engineering

Xplore Engineering is a summer camp designed for alumni and their children entering the 4th – 7th grade. Through a series of workshops, participants get hands-on experience in a variety of engineering disciplines.  For the third year in a row the Duderstadt Center participated in Xplore Engineering by offering a workshop in 3D Modeling & 3D Printing.

Photo: Evan Dougherty, Michigan Engineering Communications & Marketing

In past years, students learned how to design and print the Michigan “M” and created customized 3D printed jewelry on the Cube 3D printers. This year, students got to take full control of the design process.

Using an online app designed by John Pariseau (a Web Developer at the University of Michigan) called “Pxstl” (Pixel STL – STL being a 3D printing file format), students were able to design their own pixel art suitable for 3D printing. From designing their 3D print to operating the printers, Xplore Engineering offered a fully hands-on approach for students to learn about the 3D printing process.

If you are interested in participating in Xplore Engineering next year or would just like to learn more information, visit their website at: http://www.engin.umich.edu/mconnex/info/alumni/xplore-engineering

An Application for Greek Transcription

An Application for Greek Transcription

Practice is the only way to learn a new language. However, when learning ancient languages, such as Greek, it can be difficult to get immediate, reliable feedback on practice work. This is why Professor Pablo Alvarez in Papyrology is working with Duderstadt Center student programmer Edward Wijaya to create an app for students to practice transcribing ancient Greek manuscripts into digital writing.

The app is divided into three modes: Professor/curator mode, student mode, and discovery mode. The professor mode allows the curator to upload a picture of the manuscript and post a line by line digital transcription of the document. These are the “answers” to the document. In student mode, these manuscript are transcribed by the students. When they click the check button, the student is given a line by line comparison to the curator’s answers. Furthermore, the discovery mode allows individuals with no Greek training to learn about the letters and read descriptions in the notations used.

A wide variety of fragile manuscripts which are often inaccessible to students are available on the app allowing the students to  gain experience with diverse handwriting and histories

Surgical Planning for Dentistry: Digital Manipulation of the Jaw

Surgical Planning for Dentistry: Digital Manipulation of the Jaw

CT data was brought into Zbrush & Topogun to be segmented and re-topologized. Influence was then added to the skin mesh allowing it to deform as the bones were manipulated.

Hera Kim-Berman is a Clinical Assistant Professor with the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. She recently approached the Duderstadt Center with an idea that would allow surgeons to prototype jaw surgery specific to patient data extracted from CT scans. Hera’s concept involved the ability to digitally manipulate portions of the skull in virtual reality, just as surgeons would when physically working with a patient, allowing them to preview different scenarios and evaluate how effective a procedure might be prior to engaging in surgery.

Before re-positioning the jaw segments, the jaw has a shallow profile.

After providing the Duderstadt Center with CT scan data, Shawn O’Grady was able to extract 3D meshes of the patient’s skull and skin using Magics. From there, Stephanie O’Malley worked with the models to make them interactive and suitable for real-time platforms. This involved bringing the skull into a software like Zbrush and creating slices in the mesh to correspond to areas identified by Hera as places where the skull would potentially be segmented during surgery. The mesh was then also optimized to perform at a higher frame rate when incorporated into real-time platforms. The skin mesh was also altered, undergoing a process called “re-topologizing” which allowed it to be more smoothly deformed.  From there, the segmented pieces of the skull were re-assembled, and then assigned influence over areas of the skin in a process called “rigging”. This allowed for areas of the skin to move with selected bones as they were separated and shifted by a surgeon in 3D space.

After re-positioning of the jaw segments, the jaw is more pronounced.

Once a working model was achieved, it was passed off to Ted Hall and student programmer Zachary Kiekover, to be implemented into the Duderstadt Center’s Jugular Engine, allowing the demo to run at large scale and in stereoscopic 3D from within the virtual reality MIDEN but also on smaller head mounted displays like the Oculus Rift. Additionally, more intuitive user controls were added which allowed for easier selection of the various bones using a game controller or motion tracked hand gestures via the Leap Motion. This meant surgeons could not only view the procedure from all angles in stereoscopic 3D, but they could also physically grab the bones they wanted to manipulate and transpose them in 3D space.

Zachary demonstrates the ability to manipulate the model using the Leap Motion.

Tour the Michigan Ion Beam Laboratory in 3D

Tour the Michigan Ion Beam Laboratory in 3D

3D Model of the Michigan Ion Beam Laboratory

The Michigan Ion Beam Laboratory (MIBL) was established in 1986 as part of the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences in the College of Engineering. Located on the University of Michigan’s North Campus, the MIBL serves to provide unique and extensive facilities to support research and development. Recently, Professor Gary Was, Director of the MIBL reached out to the Duderstadt Center for assistance with developing content for the MIBL website to better introduce users to the capabilities of their lab as construction on a new particle accelerator reached completion.

Gary’s group was able to provide the Duderstadt Center with a scale model of the Ion Beam Laboratory generated in Inventor and a detailed synopsis of the various components and executable experiments. From there, the Stephanie O’Malley of the Duderstadt Center optimized and beautified the provided model, adding corresponding materials, labels and lighting. A series of fly-throughs, zoom-ins, and experiment animations were generated from this model that would serve to introduce visitors to the various capabilities of the lab.

These interactive animations were then integrated into the MIBL’s wordpress platform by student programmer, Yun-Tzu Chang. Visitors to the MIBL website are now able to compare the simplified digital replica of the space with actual photos of the equipment as well as run various experiments to better understand how each component functions.  To learn more about the Michigan Ion Beam Laboratory and to explore the space yourself, visit their website at  mibl.engin.umich.edu.

The 3D Production Pipeline: Teleporter Troubles Animation

The 3D Production Pipeline: Teleporter Troubles Animation

In the Fall, students were invited to participate in an immersive year-long course on 3D animation called The 3D Production Pipeline. The course was co-taught by Elona Van Gent (Stamps School of Art & Design) and Duderstadt Center’s Eric Maslowski, Steffen Heise & Stephanie O’Malley. Students with varying levels of experience constructed their concept, characters, storyboards and renderings, tirelessly working together to create a short animated feature called Teleporter Troubles, which follows the (mis)adventures of Wesley, a shy, smart blogger who is convinced he can use a teleporter to make an important date— meeting his girlfriend’s parents for the first time.

Concept art of Wesley, star of Teleporter Troubles

By combining the talents and resources of The Stamps School of Art & Design and the Duderstadt Center, students were able to create high-quality work in an innovative and collaborative space using state-of-the-art technology. To begin their process, students first drew concept art (what they imagined theircharacters, sets, and props would look like), many using Wacom tablets to capture the gesture and style of hand-drawing. From there, they used Maya for modeling the individual components, ZBrush to add detail to the models, and 3D Studio Max to put it all into motion! In 3D Studio Max, students adjusted the ‘rigs’ of their components to make them move and behave as they wanted. A rig is the skeletal structure of an animated object (much like the connected parts of a marionette puppet) that animators manipulate to create the desired posture or facial expressions of their characters. Because the class required copious amounts of teamwork to create one animation, students and professors used TeamLab, an online resource for file sharing and messaging, allowing students to upload their work and discuss their ideas in one convenient place online. The use of this software enabled students to animate professionally and communicate efficiently. (For more details on the teamwork involved and the exhausting creative process of animating, visit Play Gallery’s post on the project.)

Teleporter Troubles was created over the course of a year by the following team of students:
Zoe Allen-Wickler, Ashley Marie Allis, J’Vion Armstrong, Ashley Boudrie, Stephanie Boxold, Anna Jonetta Brown, Jaclyn Caris, Emily Cedar, Annie Cheng, John Foley, Paris London Glickman, Molly Lester, Rich Liverance, Lonny Marino, Olivia Meadows, Thabiso O Mhlaba, Maggie Miller, Kaisa Ryding and Sarah Schwendeman.

Finalized models of architectural elements.