Levitating Rigid Objects with Hidden Support Structures

Sarah Kushner, Risa Ulinski, Karan Singh, David I. W. Levin, Alec Jacobson

We propose a novel algorithm to efficiently generate hidden structures to support arrangements of floating rigid objects. Our optimization finds a small set of rods and wires between objects and each other or a supporting surface (e.g., wall or ceiling) that hold all objects in force and torque equilibrium. Our objective function includes a sparsity inducing total volume term and a linear visibility term based on efficiently pre-computed Monte-Carlo integration, to encourage solutions that are as-hidden-as-possible. The resulting optimization is convex and the global optimum can be efficiently recovered via a linear program. Our representation allows for a user-controllable mixture of tension-, compression-, and bending-resistant rods or tension-only wires. We explore applications to theatre set design, museum exhibit curation, and other artistic endeavours.

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