H.B Keller Colloquium Series
Digital fabrication technologies like 3D printers and CNC machines can produce customized, fine-tuned physical objects with exciting applications in architecture, medicine, robotics, and more. However, finding the best solution to a particular design problem within the vast space of geometries that these technologies can manufacture requires sophisticated computational design tools. My talk will present my work developing optimal design algorithms for various types of elastic structures. I will show structures that deploy from flat sheets into curved surfaces when stretched or inflated, metamaterials that can emulate a broad range of material properties due to their microstructure geometry, and curved ribbons that can be laser-cut and woven into faithful approximations of a target shape. The common theme underlying these projects is a design optimization problem that is highly nonconvex and involves solving nonlinear elasticity problems in the inner loop. I will overview an effective approach for tackling this class of problems and show how insights from differential geometry often can be leveraged to find good solutions for otherwise intractable design problems.