Children’s Playground Equipment: From Virtual Reality to 3D

Just A Fun Project With A Purpose

In recent years virtual reality has gained a substantial amount of popularity. There are many games and software products in development or already released. A small portion of those focus on the creation of 3D models, for a variety of purposes such as game development, architecture and art.

Virutal Reality and 3D Model

There’s a thesis that argues the necessity of virtual reality in designing models in 3D. Entitled, “Designing Playground Equipment with VR and 3D Printing,” its author Christian Knaapen says that there is a break in the connection between the 3D model on the 2D screen and the final object. The final object should have the capacity to be interacted with, to be walked around; that’s why it needs virtual reality.

However, converting models made in virtual reality to 3D prints is not straightforward. 3D prints need to show some desired properties as, the object should consist of one connected component that touches the printing platform, it should be able to stand without falling over, and it should be structurally sound.

In the project, the author implements a program that analyzes these properties on models made in virtual reality. It is the first 3D print analysis program that works in virtual reality. To test this program, the author collated 35 students from a local school to design playground equipment in Google Blocks. Then the models were analyzed and 3D printed.

There were 16 groups formed in total, comprising children in groups of two or three. The children underwent three phases for this project: the first phase is introduction to Google Blocks and designing of their playground equipment. By the second phase, they have finished their designs. Lastly, they used the author’s software program to be able to analyze the models they’ve designed. They they’ve finalized everything, the designs were 3D printed and tested according to the desired properties – at least one connected component to the printing platform, standing without falling, and structural soundness.

Even though this project was an initial step towards understanding virtual reality-created models conversion to 3D printing, further study is necessary. While not the project’s main objective, the children had a great time designing their own playground equipment. They were thrilled being introduced to virtual reality and 3D printing.

Trying Kids’ Fun Models from Imagination

We might not yet be creating 3D printed playthings from virtual reality in Seattle, but your kids can have some fun designing their own stuff. If your kid has got an idea, let’s 3D print it.