The Peer review has evaluated this group as Excellent
Some members of the Virtual Prototyping (VP) group have moved to Politecnico di Milano in 2001, bringing competences on geometric and shape modelling, computer graphics, rendering, simulation. The research on VP started in 2000 on the wave of growing scientific interest on Virtual Reality technologies for supporting product design, simulation and evaluation. The research main topics are: physics-based modelling and simulation, VP for product design and evaluation, ergonomics validation based on virtual humans, new methods and tools for interacting with virtual models, Reverse Engineering. Methodologies, tools and enabling technologies have been developed, evaluated and applied in various industrial domains (automotive, aeronautics and industrial design). The research in this area has been supported by funding from MUR–Ministry-of-University-and- Research, from European Commission, and from direct collaboration with Italian and international companies operating in various industrial domains. The group has coordinated several projects –national and European- related to VP issues. The group has coordinated two European projects on the development of novel haptic interaction tools for industrial design: T’nD project coordinated by Prof.U.Cugini, and SATIN project coordinated by Prof.M.Bordegoni, and two national projects on the use of VR technologies for product development and simulation: SIMBAR project coordinated by Prof.U.Cugini, and VERVE project coordinated by 154 Prof.G.Colombo. The group has participated to the European project CUSTOMFIT and to two MUR projects. Research activities on Physics-based modeling and simulation started in 1994 with the participation to national and European projects addressing the topics of non-rigid products simulation (car top-roof, cables handling, non rigid products packaging) and of garment design. The group has developed methods and systems for modeling, visualization and simulation of deformable objects based on the particle-based approach, has developed a software environment for physics-based modeling and simulation of garments, and for physics-based simulation oriented to virtual prototyping in industrial sectors. The group has also contributed to the development of an integrated environment supporting the design of 3D garments carried out in the Vi-Cloth project. The group has researched on Virtual Prototyping for product design and evaluation, and ergonomics validation based on Virtual Humans. Virtual prototypes of products -used for functional, aesthetic and ergonomics evaluation of products- have been developed in collaboration with companies operating in various industrial sectors (Whirlpool, Elasis, MR&D, SAME, Safilo, HP). The group is partner in the European CUSTOM-FIT project and in the MUR DESPRO project supporting the definition of a methodology based on Reverse Engineering and physics-based techniques for the design of customised lower limb prosthesis. Virtual Humans -moved in real-time using a motion capture system- are integrated into simulation environments for evaluating ergonomics aspects of products. The group has set up an environment based on the integration of motion capture systems, see-through stereoscopic Head Mounted Display, and haptic devices for the development of applications for the functional and ergonomics simulation of products. The group has pioneered the use and development of haptic interfaces, and is one of the most active European groups working in this area. The group coordinates the European projects T’nD and SATIN. The result of the T’nD project is a haptic system for virtual shape modeling and exploration based on two end effectors: a scraping tool and a sanding tool. The T’nD prototype is installed at the HAPRE lab. The SATIN project aims at developing a new interaction tool based on the multimodal use of haptics, sound and stereo vision for evaluating and modifying shapes. Dynamic programmable interaction devices simulating control devices (knobs, dials) have been developed in national projects: SIMBAR and VERVE. The devices have been integrated into applications for the ergonomics validation of industrial products (like microwaves and washing machines) and vehicles dashboards. A dynamic haptic knob has been integrated in the seating buck developed at Elasis. The group has developed strong competences in the area of Reverse Engineering, based on optical scanning techniques integrated in the product development lifecycle. Different reconstruction methodologies have been set up according to the kind of shape to treat: Alessi’s cutlery, Carrozzeria Castagna’s cars, limb stump. Computer vision techniques have been used in order to carry out contact less quality control and measurement of industrial products. The research funding has partially supported the establishment of two research labs equipped with state-of-the-art VP technologies: HAPRE lab and VIPAR lab. Several researchers are members of the board of the PhD programme on “Virtual Prototypes and Real Products” (http//www.vprp.polimi.it), coordinated by Prof.U.Cugini in 2003-2006.
Franco De Angelis