Cornell and MIT are working on a joint project called the Robotic Modeling Assistant (RoMA) which will bring together multiple technologies to create an ultimate prototyping machine.
Although 3D printing is certainly improving and streamlining prototyping, researchers from MIT and Cornell want to bring more emerging technologies together to improve such machines.
The joint project is called the Robotic Modeling Assistant (RoMA). It blends technologies such as augmented reality, 3D printing and robotics. It looks like a robotic arm with a 3D printing pen attached to the end of the arm.
Team leader Huaishu Peng explains on his website that the machine is an interactive fabrication system. It offers a fast, hands-on, precise modeling experience.
Essentially, users can create a 3D model in-situ and get hands on with their 3D print using the open, robotic arm. Peng adds:
“With RoMA, users can integrate real-world constraints into a design rapidly, allowing them to create well-proportioned tangible artifacts. Users can even directly design on and around an existing object, and extending the artifact by in-situ fabrication.”
Although this process might appear clunky and awkward, it’s an interesting mixture of the emerging technologies. Check out the way it works in the video below:
Positives and Negatives of the Robotic Modeling Assistant
Using the augmented reality headset, it’s possible to create the perfect design. While the designer creates a model with the AR CAD editor, the robotic arm will fabricate the object simultaneously.
The small, basic plastic model created with the 3D printing pen attached to the end can be used as a tangible reference for the maker.
With this robotic arm, it’s also possible to print on top of other objects as it doesn’t work with a printing bed. Currently, the machine is faster than most FDM 3D printing methods and designers can move the arm more easily.
“At any time, the designer can touch the handle of the platform and rotate it to bring part of the model forward,” Peng continues.
“The robotic arm will park away from the user automatically. If the designer steps away from the printing platform, the robotic fabricator can take the full control of the platform and finish the printing job.”
However, it is more advanced than a 3D printing pen and offers more control. Peng explains that he hopes to see people designing their own everyday objects to suit their needs in the future. Want to find out more? Visit Peng’s website.
Source: Tech Crunch