FreeD – A Freehand Digital Sculting Tool

We’ve been asked to maintain a blog as part of my Interactive Devices (COMSM0009) course which will be used to document the project. For the first post, we are required to write a short review for a paper presented at the CHI 2013 . I have chosen to review

FreeD: a freehand digital sculpting tool
Amit Zoran, Joseph A.Paradiso

The basic premise of the paper is to overcome the divide between digital creation and individual craftsmanship. The authors argue that in today’s world, with 3D printing and various CAD techniques becoming more and more ubiquitous, the intimate experience of crafting an object is being lost. They acknowledge that using advanced tools has benefits such as greater efficiency and reduced risks and so to bridge this gap between digital creation and craft, they present a device that allows the designer to engage with physical objects while still allowing them to utilise the benefits of CAD.

This device is the FreeD – a freehand digitally controlled milling device. The device is location aware – a computer monitors the location while the tool is being used freely by hand. When the computer detects the designer deviating from the pre-designed CAD model, the milling bit slows down or retracts to prevent accidental damage. This means the predefined model serves as a guideline (thus removing the risk of damage to the design) while allowing reinterpretation of the design as the craftsman has full on-the-spot control of the milling device.