New Kinect Design Trick: Handy Potter

Handy Potter and the virtual vase

1 min read
New Kinect Design Trick: Handy Potter

Using a depth-sensing Kinect camera and advanced software algorithms, Purdue engineers have invented a design tool that lets you create virtual three-dimensional objects with your bare hands. According to the researchers, the system, called “Handy Potter”, contains algorithms that recognize the hand, understand that the hand is interacting with the shape, and then modify the shape in response to the hand interaction.

"We're democratizing the design process,” says Karthik Ramani, professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue. You don't have to be an engineer or an accomplished potter to use this. You can be a kid."

It’s no Microsoft KinEtre, but I’s pretty neat anyway.

Ramani’s research team won an "all conference best paper" award for the Handy-Potter work at the ASME 2012 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, this week in Chicago. The paper was co-authored by Ramani and graduate students Vinayak, Sundar Murugappan, and Cecil Piya.

"Traditional tools require the use of procedures so complicated that it is difficult to become an expert," Ramani says. "Handy-Potter is more of an imagination tool. You create the shape while you are completely focused on the idea rather than bothering yourself about the right usage of the tool. The tool learns you and does not become a barrier in creation. You don't learn the tool."

There’s a Russian reversal joke in there somewhere….

The Conversation (0)

Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

Keep Reading ↓Show less