Tang.3d is a physical interface for digital 3D modeling. It provides an easy way to create 3D shapes in real time and makes 3D modeling more approachable for non-experts. It was a three day project by Ruben van der Vleuten and myself during a generative design course at CIID, taught by Joshua Noble and David Guathier.

The interface consists of a grid of red spheres hanging from the ceiling. Users can pull down any number of spheres and adjust their vertical positions. All the spheres that the user has selected to pull down are used as vertices in the creation of a 3D model. In essence the system is transforming all red spheres from vertices in physical space to vertices in digital space. Those vertices are connected with each other to form the digital 3D model. This is done mainly using a simple camera and color detection techniques.

Throughout the whole process users are able to touch and walk around the 3d model. In addition, they get visual feedback of their actions and are able to see the digital version of the 3d shape from different perspectives on a computer screen. This gives the ability to easily anticipate and visualize the actual 3d model both physically and digitally. Finally, at any point desired models can be saved and 3d printed.

Tang.3D is a fully functional prototype and has been exhibited in Copenhagen. Here is a time lapse of the exhibition: vimeo.com/42890414

Kostantinos Frantzis (kfrantzis.com)
Ruben van der Vleuten (rubenvandervleuten.com)

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