February 26, 2024

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Igniting Creativity, MIT’s Improved 3D Volume Matching 

Image credits: news.mit.edu

In the realm of computer graphics and computer-aided design (CAD), 3D objects are commonly represented by the external contours of their surfaces. These shapes, known as “thin shells,” efficiently store and manipulate 3D models but may result in unintended visual anomalies.

For instance, when an animated character’s fingers bend, the hand may collapse in a manner reminiscent of an empty rubber glove rather than the natural movement of a hand with bones, tendons, and muscles. These disparities pose challenges, particularly when developing mapping algorithms that establish correlations between shapes.

To overcome these limitations, a team of researchers from MIT has devised a solution that tackles the issue by aligning 3D shapes through mapping volumes rather than just surfaces. Their innovative approach involves representing shapes as tetrahedral meshes, which encompass the internal mass of a 3D object. By manipulating and stretching the vertices of tetrahedral within a source shape, their algorithm determines the optimal adjustments needed to align it with a target shape.

The method developed by the researchers offers an improved ability to model intricate details of an object by incorporating volumetric information. This approach effectively mitigates the issues of twisting and inversion that are commonly observed with surface-based mapping techniques.

“By transitioning from surface-based representation to volumetric representation, the entire hand is enveloped in the stretched rubber glove. This advancement in our method brings geometric mapping closer to replicating physical reality, enhancing the realism and accuracy of the models,” said Mazdak Abulnaga, an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) graduate student who is the lead author of the paper on this mapping technique.

Abulnaga and his team devised a method that demonstrated superior effectiveness in aligning shapes compared to standard methods. As a result, it produced high-quality shape maps with reduced distortion compared to other competing alternatives. This algorithm proved particularly adept at handling complex mapping scenarios involving geometrically distinct input shapes, such as mapping a smooth rabbit onto a LEGO-style rabbit constructed from cubes.

While evaluating their approach, the researchers observed that it produced improved shape alignment maps compared to other volume-based methods, exhibiting higher quality and reduced distortion. Interestingly, utilising volume information yielded more accurate results even when focusing solely on the outer surface map.

Nonetheless, certain scenarios posed challenges for their method. For instance, the algorithm encountered difficulties when aligning shapes requiring significant volume changes, such as mapping a shape with a solid interior to one with a hollow cavity.

To address these limitations, the researchers aim to refine the algorithm further, particularly in reducing computation time. Additionally, they are actively exploring the application of their method in the medical field by incorporating MRI signals alongside shape data. This integration has the potential to bridge the mapping approaches utilised in medical computer vision and computer graphics.

Joel Haas, a Professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of California at Davis, who was not involved in this research, explains that theoretical symmetry analysis influences the algorithm’s development. This analysis reveals that methods that consider symmetry in shape comparison tend to exhibit superior performance in object alignment.

Haas further points out that relying solely on surface data for alignments can lead to collapsed volumes, similar to what occasionally occurred to Wile E. Coyote in the “Road Runner” cartoons.

Through a series of experiments, it is evident that the new algorithm achieves remarkable success in maintaining internal consistency while aligning a pair of 3D objects. “It ensures a reliable alignment both within the interior and along the boundary,” Haas concluded.

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Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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