Science and techno world topic: Technology
Software that helps turn video game characters into real-life figures using a 3D printer has been developed by Harvard computer scientists.
The software analyses animated 2D characters
on screen before they are printed
The team developed a tool that identifies ideal locations for a real-world figure's joints.
Computer figures created without constraints of the physical world make it difficult to print them.
But a lawyer said that if the technology gets on the market, copyright issues could arise.
Three-dimensional printers, which create objects layer-by-layer using materials such as plastic, wood or chocolate, are not new.
They have been used to print toys, jewellery, car parts and even artificial limbs.
But printing cartoon or computer games characters is more of a challenge, said Moritz Bacher, one of the researchers.
"In animation you're not necessarily trying to model the physical world perfectly; the model only has to be good enough to convince your eye," he said.
"You can make a character so anatomically skewed that it would never be able to stand up in real life, and you can make deformations that aren't physically possible."