HCIL BBl Talk Series: Accessible Virtual Reality for People with Limited Mobility
Martez Mott is a Senior Researcher in the Ability Group at Microsoft Research. His research is focused on designing, implementing, and evaluating intelligent interaction techniques that improve the accessibility of computing devices for people with diverse motor and sensory abilities. His current research focuses on identifying and overcoming accessibility barriers embedded in the design of virtual and augmented reality systems. Martez is passionate about improving diversity in the CS and HCI communities. He co-chaired the 2020 CHIMe Workshop, is serving on the steering committee for CHIMe 2021, and co-founded the Black Researchers @ MSR group. Martez received his Ph.D. in Information Science from the Information School at the University of Washington. Prior to attending UW, he received his B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science from Bowling Green State University.
Laser-cut 3D models shared online tend to be basic and trivial—models build over long periods of time and by multiple designers are few/nonexistent. I argue that this is caused by a lack of an exchange format that would allow continuing the work. At first glance, it may seem like such a format already exist, as laser cut models are already widely shared in the form of 2D cutting plans. However, such files are susceptible to variations in cutter properties (aka kerf) and do not allow modifying the model in any meaningful way. I consider this format machine specific. I tackled the challenge by writing software tools to modify 2D cutting plans, replacing non-portable elements with portable counterparts. This makes the models portable, but it is still hard to modify them. I thustook a more radical approach, which is to move to a 3D exchange format (kyub). This guarantees portability by generating a new machine-specific 2D-cutting plan for the local machine when exported.And the models inherently allow for parametric modifications. Instead, it raises the question of compatibility: Files already exist in 2D—how to get them into 3D? I demonstrate a software tool to reconstruct the 3D geometry of the model encoded in a 2D cutting plan, allows modifying it using a 3D editor, and re-encodes it to a 2D cutting plan. I demonstrate how this approach allows me to make a much wider range of modifications, including scaling, changing material thickness, and even remixing models. The transition from sharing machine-oriented 2D cutting files, to 3D files, enables users worldwide to collaborate, share, and reuse. And thus, to move on from users creating thousands of trivial models from scratch to collaborating on big complex projects.