Hands Free 3D printing interface

Posted by on Apr 10, 2014 in Blog Posts | No Comments
Hands Free 3D printing interface

So for those of you who are not aware, the Savannah College of Art and Design recently unveiled SCADpad, an urban housing design solution at SCAD Atlanta that maximizes both comfort and space by having artists and designers work together to create urban homes the size of parking spaces. I had the pleasure of visiting SCADpad’s unveiling and it was amazing. The whole project is really cool and you can read more about it over on their website http://scadpad.com/ or by filtering by posts tagged SCADpad over on the official SCAD blog: http://www.scad.edu/blog/tag/scadpad.


Photos from SCADpad.com

SCADpad residents will have many amenities available to them, one of which is a MakerBot 3D printer, which is equipped to print objects to help students customize their living areas, things like coasters, bottle openers, paperclips, and even accessories. The 3D printer uses a hands-free interface which was conceived and developed by the SCAD alumnus Kevin Lee Jr., a practically certifiable crazy creative genius. The software is powered by LeapMotion, Unity and ZeroUI.

Kevin was familiar with my work in User Interface and User Experience design, so when he was developing the pitch for the project he contacted me to do some consultanting to work through some of the interactions he had in mind. He also commissioned me to create some illustrations for the interface that he could pitch to his contact at SCADpad.

Kevin’s vision was for a way for students to interact with the 3D printer in an enjoyable, simple fashion. He and I worked through how the final interface might look while discussing usability concerns. Here are some of the initial concept illustrations and wireframes that I created:


All Items featured were designed and modeled by SCAD students


The first interaction process that we worked through was the category system. Because the user interacts with the interface by waving their hand, we wanted to keep the motions as basic as possible and the interface as intuitive as possible. With this in mind, we designed the category selection system with two primary areas on the screen, one cycles through the categories of objects, and the other cycles through the objects themselves. By waving their hand in the top portion of the screen, the users can wave to cycle through the categories, and when the hands is in the bottom portion of the screen, the user cycles through the objects.


The item selection screen is selected when the user moves their hand forward, ‘reaching’ toward the item. The camera also moves in visually, reinforcing the motion and helping the user to understand the selection motion. Additionally, when the hand is pulled back, the item is deselected and the camera moves away again. This screen features the item more prominently, and includes information such as print time and cost (in the final version of the project, it was deemed that use of the 3D printer would be free to SCADpad residents, so the cost bar was removed).


After selecting the checkmark icon, the user is presented with a very short timer where they must hold their hand still to complete the selection. This is to prevent accidental selection (and printing!) of items.



The double confirmation and timer system was designed with the prevention of accidental print selections in mind. The user can cancel this screen at any time by pulling their hand back and returning to the selection screen.


It was awesome to work with Kevin on this project, and after our initial interaction design consultation jam, he took the illustrations and ran with them. He unveiled the final interface at the SCADpad opening on April 10, 2014. Here’s a video of him using it via SCAD’s official instagram account

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And here is a picture of me using it via professor
Gokhan Ozaysin’s Twitter Feed.

It was incredible to get the chance to work with Kevin on this project, he did an amazing job breathing life into the design and it was awesome to see people actually interacting with it at the SCADpad launch event. SCADpad is an incredible project and it is the culmination of many many hours of collaboration between many amazing artists, SCAD students and Alumni.

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