Media Computing Project WS 2012/13: Interactive Assembly

Augmenting Personal Fabrication Assembly Experience with 3D Interactive Viewport


Are you interested in the result of this class? Have a look at the Interactive Assembly Assistant project page.


Increased popularity of personal fabrication allows more complex machinery to be produced in a Fab Lab or ordered as a kit (e.g., MakerBot, RepRap, MakerScanner, FabScan 3D). Although the components can be obtained easily, the assembly process is still complicated. Conventional assembly manuals on 2D paper or webpages can not effectively convey the assembly process which is inherently 3D. Novice users usually need to be guided by an expert; there were even classes spanning several days for the assembly process. The existing approaches to assemble complex personal fabrication machinery do not scale.

What you will do

In MCP WS ’12/13, students will construct a 3D step-by-step interactive assembly system for Media Computing Group’s FabScan 3D. With 3D motion tracking technology, the system will recognize components of the machine and guide the assembler through audio/visual output on an iPad viewport.

What you will learn

After the course, you will understand and be able to implement gesture and object recognition using 3D tracking technologies. You will prove your knowledge and skill by implementing a functioning system which will guide users in 3D real-time assembly.

Preferred student background

DIS1 (Designing Interactive Systems) is a prerequisite or co-requisite (being taken in the same semester) of the course. The project will be evaluated based on usability heuristics presented in DIS1.

Basic computer graphics knowledge (vector and matrices, transformations and projections), image processing, OpenGL (especially shader language), OpenCL, Objective-C or iOS programming will give you a big advantage in the project. Nevertheless, we will refresh them for you in class during the semester.

Hint: Mention your background and a link to your portfolio in the free text field in your application for the lab. This will increase the chance of being selected.

Why you should apply for this course

  • If you want to get a head start on understanding and implementing the next generation of user interfaces, this is your chance!
  • If you are eager to build a real system that solves a real problem in the personal fabrication community, this is your chance!
  • If you are interested in 3D user interface and want to play with 3D sensors, e.g., Vicon motion tracking, Kinect, or LEAP motion, this is your chance!


  • 15% assignments + class participation
  • 10% prelimiary design & prototypes
  • 60% final project deliverable
  • 10% final presentation
  • 5% project management and collaboration

Administrative info

Language: The course will be held in English and all submissions are expected to be in English
Credits: 7 ECTS. Each student may propose extra work for an upgrade to 10 ECTS during the middle of the project. We will consider the upgrade based on your skill and your proposal of the extra mile.
General information: The course description is in the MCP landing page


Time & venue:

  • Wednesday 15:00h - 17:00h, 2222

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