Rising Stars 2020:

Athina Panotopoulou

PhD Candidate

Dartmouth College

Areas of Interest

  • Computational Fabrication
  • Graphics (Non-Photorealistic Images, Shape Analysis, Shape Modeling)
  • Human-Computer Interaction (Accessibility, Tactile Perception)


Tactile Images for 3D Shapes


A current trend in computer graphics is the use of programmable prototyping tools that allow for easy fabrication. Another well-known graphics research area is Non-Photorealistic rendering and concerns images that are stylized either to display a particular aesthetic quality (e.g., watercolor painting), or to clearly convey information (e.g., maps in subways). The presented work showcases one example for fabricating Non-Photorealistic images on microcapsule paper for improved shape understanding for the blind. For the fabrication of the tactile images, key characteristics used to convey shape information through touch are gathered from previous studies in cognitive psychology, human-computer interaction, and our own formative studies. A 3D pre-partitioned object is given as input, a multi-projection line drawing of the shape's cross sections is computed, and the drawings are output as tactile images via laser engraving. The improved performance of these tactile images over images designed with existing guidelines is shown via a user study.


I have recently graduated with a PhD in Computer Science from Dartmouth College under the supervision of Emily Whiting and one of my goals in my work in computer graphics and computational fabrication is to allow more people to express their creativity through computer assisted design. One of my research interests involves using knowledge about human perception and user studies to develop algorithms that will make graphics more accessible to people with blindness. Another area that I am interested in uses domain expertise to computationally fabricate artistic artifacts. I have worked in projects ranging from tactile and watercolor images, to shape modeling and 3D-printing. During my PhD I interned in Autodesk research in Toronto where I 3D-printed musical instruments. I was born and grew up in Athens where I received my B.S. in Informatics at the Athens University of Economics and Business.

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