Fall 2020

Vinayak Krishnamurthy

Vinayak Krishnamurthy

Assistant Professor
Texas A&M University


Friday, 11/06/20 at 12:00 PM


Exploring Embodiment for Spatial Design Ideation

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The synthesis of new ideas, or ideation, is fundamental to the product design process, particularly in its early phase. Early design ideation helps designers understand the design problem and the design space. This exploratory nature of ideation demands an uninhibited flow between what a designer is thinking and how the designer is communicating the thought. The challenge in enabling computer-supported ideation is to create a digital environment that augments one’s cognitive capability to search, organize, and synthesize ideas. In this talk, I will tell three short stories each of which attempts to address this challenge in a different manner. My first story will begin with a gesture-based interfaces for creating, modifying, and manipulating 3D shapes. Using insights from an observational study, my second story will then explore how the tacit human understanding of a real-world interactions can be embedded within the virtual interactions for shape deformation. For this, I will describe a geometric algorithm for extracting the grasp and motion from a dynamic point-cloud of the hand interacting with a virtual shape. By applying this algorithm to a virtual pottery scenario, I will demonstrate how users can determine their own strategy for reaching, grasping and deforming a 3D shape without learning a prescribed set of gestures. Finally, in my third story, I will discuss mobile devices as creative media to enable direct creation of 3D shape compositions comprised of swept surfaces.


Vinayak Krishnamurthy is an Assistant Professor in the J. Mike Walker’66 Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University. His works at the intersection of four fields of research, namely, geometric modeling, human computer interactions (HCI), product design, and artificial intelligence. He directs the Mixed-initiative Design Lab to create and investigate advanced tools, methodologies, and theories for engineering, industrial, and architectural design. He studies the role of spatial user interfaces in creative design ideation, new workflows for humans-computer collaboration for information-based ideation, and new geometric modeling techniques for generative design of shapes. Dr. Krishnamurthy’s dissertation research led to the commercial deployment of zPots, a virtual pottery app using Leap Motion controller. Through the NSF-AIR program, we collaborated with zeroUI, a startup located in California. The technology was showcased at TechCrunch Disrupt, San Francisco (2012) and MakerFaire - Bay Area (2013). He has been actively involved in disseminating his research to non-technical audiences through educational workshops with LSAMP and FIRST Robotics.