Pteromys: Interactive Design and Optimization of Free-formed Free-flight Model Airplanes

AbstractThis paper introduces novel interactive techniques for designing original hand-launched free-flight glider airplanes which can actually fly. The aerodynamic properties of a glider aircraft depend on their shape, imposing significant design constraints. We present a compact and efficient representation of glider aerodynamics that can be fit to real-world conditions using a data-driven method. To do so, we acquire a sample set of glider flight trajectories using a video camera and the system learns a nonlinear relationship between forces on the wing and wing shape. Our acquisition system is much simpler to construct than a wind tunnel, but using it we can efficiently discover a wing model for simple gliding aircraft. Our resulting model can handle general free-form wing shapes and yet agrees sufficiently well with the acquired airplane flight trajectories. Based on this compact aerodynamics model, we present a design tool in which the wing configuration created by a user is interactively optimized to maximize flight-ability. To demonstrate the effectiveness of our tool for glider design by novice users, we compare it with a traditional design workflow.

Download publication

Related Resources

See what’s new.



Design problem solving with biological analogies: A verbal protocol study

Biomimetic design applies biological analogies to solve design…



A Quantum of Continuous Simulated Time

In the context of discrete-event simulation, time resolution pertains…



The Parametric Human Project: Building a Probabilistic Atlas of Human Anatomy

The Parametric Human Project (PHP) is an academic and industrial…



PhenoBlocks: Phenotype Comparison Visualizations

The differential diagnosis of hereditary disorders is a challenging…

Get in touch

Something pique your interest? Get in touch if you’d like to learn more about Autodesk Research, our projects, people, and potential collaboration opportunities.

Contact us