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A Versatile Joystick For Animation Artists

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The versatile joystick allows articulating animated characters.

ETH Zurich researchers have developed a new input device which can move and pose virtual characters.

Credit: Interactive Geometry Lab/ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich researchers have developed a new input device, consisting of modular building blocks, which can move and pose virtual characters. The researchers say an artist can assemble these blocks into an approximate representation of any virtual character. They also have developed a modular "input-puppet" with integrated sensors that can take any shape.

Sensors in each joint measure the bending angle and transfer this information to software that computes how the virtual characters should move. "The software assists the artist in registering their newly assembled device to the character's shape," says ETH professor Olga Sorkine-Hornung.

The researchers have made the method for creating the device's building blocks available for free as Open Hardware and will present the device at the ACM SIGGRAPH conference in August.

Sorkine-Hornung says the researchers hope to advance the device by developing a ball-and-socket joint, similar to the human shoulder joint, enabling easier manipulation of the puppet.

From ETH Zurich
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