The Shape Machine is a new computational technology that fundamentally redefines the way shapes are digitally represented, indexed, queried and operated upon. By allowing users to draw shape rules rather than write them in a programming language, it provides a robust and disruptive technology for engineers, computer scientists, designers, students and educators, and in general academics and professionals who use drawings and visual models to develop and communicate their ideas. Significantly, the Shape Machine is the first software that manages to solve the subshape recognition problem in vector graphics and the first one to perform the operations with shapes envisioned by the academic community since the early seventies.
The current working prototype is implemented in Python as a plug-in within Rhinoceros 5 from Robert McNeel and Associates and includes three proprietary modules: shape representation, shape recognition, and shape modification, all for straight lines and arcs under Euclidean transformations. The software allows users to program custom functions by drawing shapes instead of writing code in a programming language.
The intellectual property of the Shape Machine software technology is solely originated by and contained within the team consisting of Kurt Hong, Athanassios Economou, James Park and Heather Ligler, and all technical specifications pertaining to the maximal line representation of shape are protected under a pending patent application at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) – “Shape Computational Technology”, No. 62/831,919. The provisional application was filed by Troutman Sanders LLP on behalf of the inventors and the Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GTRC) and it was officially received by USPTO on April 10th, 2019.