Disney Research’s Spin-It Turns Objects of Any Shape Into Child’s Play

'Spin-It' From Disney ResearchDuring the ACM Conference on Computer Graphics & Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH) event taking place August 10-14, 2014, Disney Research Zurich will present its Spin-It project, designed to optimize the moment of inertia for spinnable objects. In short, it’s a proven method for making balancing toys such as yo-yos and spinning tops.

If you were to ask a dozen people to close their eyes and imagine the traditional spinning top or yo-yo, chances are they’d all visualize the same shape of the object. This is because the objects’ shapes are already designed to perform their desired task — that is to say that the mass is equally distributed across the object, so it’s perfectly balanced. But what if you wanted to spin or yo-yo an object that wasn’t perfectly symmetrical and balanced? What if, for example, you wanted to spin a top shaped like an elephant?

That’s precisely the objective of Spin-It, an algorithm that takes the shape of an object as its input, but then calculates not only the mass distribution (by hollowing out specific portions) but also the materials being used in specific portions, so that the object can be 3D printed and spun or yo-yo’d with the desired results. The video above demonstrates what Spin-It allows Disney Research to perform with 3D printing and the results of some of the items shown are pretty spectacular.

If that’s not enough, even stationary objects stand to improve from Spin-It, which can propose a way to 3D print an object so that its center of mass is lowered, providing more stability.

For more information on Spin-It, visit the project’s official page.

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