A technique for physically decorating three-dimensional (3D) surfaces with customizable color textures has been developed by a team of U.S. and Chinese researchers.
The researchers say their method is cost-effective and can be used on materials ranging from plastic to porcelain.
Researchers from Zheijiang and Columbia universities dubbed their method computational hydrographic printing. They say the technique enables point-by-point detailed alignment of surface textures to complex 3D surfaces.
An essential step of the hydrographic printing method is the computation of a pixel image to print on PVA, a water-soluble synthetic polymer film. The researchers attach the object on a mechanical gripper and dip it into the water while using a Microsoft Kinect to map the location of the object prior to immersion. The researchers say the simulation step establishes a map that plots points on the color film to points on the object's surface. The researchers then use the inverse of this map to determine which color patterns need to be printed on a color film.
When dealing with complex surfaces, the team has extended their method to enable multiple immersions, each with a different object orientation.
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