Face of Thomas Oster

Thomas Oster

Ex Student Assistant And Bachelor Thesis Student

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My Thesis:
Title: VisiCut - An Application Genre for Lasercutting in Personal Fabrication
Supervisor: René Bohne Download: ((http://hci.rwth-aachen.de/materials/publications/oster2011a.pdf))
Abstract: Laser-cutters are central devices in personal fabrication and widely used in fab labs.
Since those are open for everyone, an easy to use software solution is important.
There are many vendor supplied solutions and some open source approaches, but
none of them can provide full platform independence and good usability.
We created a tool named VisiCut, which allows using laser-cutters from nearly any
operating system and even prepare the laser-jobs at home to minimize the time
needed in the lab. This tool has some advantages over the existing solutions, which
include positioning directly on a live camera picture of the material, detailed preview rendering and saving of complete jobs for easy distribution and portability.
As base for VisiCut, we created a new library dedicated for laser-cutting, which
is called LibLaserCut. This library provides easy interfaces for implementing lasercutter drivers. The first driver, we implemented for the library, controls an Epilog
ZING laser-cutter.
Both are written in pure Java, which make them platform independent. They are
licensed as free software in order to be available for everyone and to allow continuous development and community support.
For VisiCut, we analyzed existing interactive systems used in fabrication environments and conducted a survey to to determine the habits of people using the lasercutter in our fab lab. We also created a few UI prototypes and did user tests to
improve them.
For the LibLaserCut, we analyzed the possibilities of the Epilog ZING laser-cutter
among with available software solutions. We designed an interface for laser-cutter
drivers and implemented the driver for the Epilog ZING, which is based on the
open source driver CUPS-epilog.
Further, we evaluated VisiCut through a user test and tested the whole system on
different platforms. We also created a list of improvements and enhancements,
which should be addressed in future developement.
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