Designing Inflatable Structures


Melina Skouras (Disney Research Zurich, ETH Zurich)
Bernhard Thomaszewski (Disney Research Zurich)
Peter Kaufmann (Disney Research Zurich)
Akash Garg (Columbia University)
Bernd Bickel (Disney Research Zurich)
Eitan Grinspun (Columbia University)
Markus Gross (Disney Research Zurich)


August 10, 2014


We propose an interactive, optimization-in-the-loop tool for designing inflatable structures. Given a target shape, the user draws a network of seams defining desired segment boundaries in 3D. Our method computes optimally-shaped flat panels for the segments, such that the inflated structure is as close as possible to the target while satisfying the desired seam positions. Our approach is underpinned by physics-based pattern optimization, accurate coarse-scale simulation using tension field theory, and a specialized constraint-optimization method. Our system is fast enough to warrant interactive exploration of different seam layouts, including internal connections, and their effects on the inflated shape. We demonstrate the resulting design process on a varied set of simulation examples, some of which we have fabricated, demonstrating excellent agreement with the design intent.

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