Almost every object we use is developed with computer-aided design (CAD).
Researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and Columbia University are trying to make the process faster and easier: In a new paper, they've developed InstantCAD, a tool that lets designers interactively edit, improve, and optimize CAD models using a more streamlined and intuitive workflow.
InstantCAD integrates seamlessly with existing CAD programs as a plug-in, meaning that designers don't have to learn new tools to use it.
"From more ergonomic desks to higher-performance cars, this is really about creating better products in less time," says Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science PhD student and lead author Adriana Schulz, who will be presenting the paper at this month's SIGGRAPH computer-graphics conference in Los Angeles.
The paper was co-written by Associate Professor Wojciech Matusik, PhD student Jie Xu, and postdoc Bo Zhu of CSAIL, as well as Associate Professor Eitan Grinspun and Assistant Professor Changxi Zheng of Columbia University.
Traditional CAD systems are "parametric," which means that when engineers design models, they can change properties like shape and size ("parameters") based on different priorities.