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INSPIRE: The Informatics of Making

CCI Project Lead: William Regli

Project Leaders: Vadim Shapiro (Principal Investigator) and William Regli (Co-Principal Investigator)

About the Project

This INSPIRE award is partially funded by the Engineering and Systems Design and the Manufacturing programs in the Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation Division of the NSF Engineering Directorate and by the Information Integration and Informatics Program in the Division of Information and Intelligent Systems in the NSF Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate.

The objective of this research project is to establish a universal formal computational model for the information that flows from design into additive manufacturing. This model plays a role similar to that of the Church-Turing model that underlies general computation. It describes part geometry and materials while connecting to the physics that underlies a part. The computational model is necessary to embody complex information and enable new behaviors in ways that existing tools and technologies cannot accommodate.

In the new world of additive manufacturing, the central embodiment of an artifact, the thing that we buy and sell and improve, will be the information used to additively manufacture an object, not the object itself. This project is developing a language in which to express that information, a language sufficiently rich and rigorous to unleash design capabilities and control manufacturing processes. Development of such a language / model is a critical step to bringing the Maker culture into the economic mainstream.