Prof. Dr. Bernd Bickel. Head of the Bickel Group
Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria)
Subject area: Computer graphics and digital fabrication
What it is: 3 D printing promises a revolution in production. Today’s 3D printers can produce spare parts, pieces in games, parts of aircraft turbines, entire houses or even human tissue. A few mouse clicks manufacture personalized products, complex shapes and material combinations not yet realized. Never before has it been technically so simple to build atoms from bytes. Digital fabrication requires appropriate software tools and simulation methods that take into account not only the shape of an object, but also its functional and aesthetic properties. How should, for example, the material density of each point in space be definedin order that it deforms in a certain wayunder pressure? Do reflections of light on a specific surface create realistic images?
At IST Austria we develop algorithms that allow designing and optimizing functional objects on computers. Computer animation, biomechanics, materials science and applied mathematics play a central role in this approach.