Designing Inflatable Structures


We propose an interactive, optimization-in-the-loop tool for designing inflatable structures.

July 27, 2014



Melina Skouras (Disney Research/ETH Joint PhD)

Bernhard Thomaszewski (Disney Research)

Peter Kaufmann(Disney Research)

Akash Garg (Columbia University)

Bernd Bickel (Disney Research)

Eitan Grinspun (Columbia University)

Markus Gross (Disney Research/ETH Zurich)

Designing Inflatable Structures


Given a target shape, the user draws a network of seams defining desired segment boundaries in 3D. Our method computes optimally-shaped flat panels for the segments, such that the inflated structure is as close as possible to the target while satisfying the desired seam positions. Our approach is underpinned by physics-based pattern optimization, accurate coarse-scale simulation using tension field theory, and a specialized constraint-optimization method. Our system is fast enough to warrant interactive exploration of different seam layouts, including internal connections, and their effects on the inflated shape. We demonstrate the resulting design process on a varied set of simulation examples, some of which we have fabricated, demonstrating excellent agreement with the design intent.

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