SBIR Phase II: Computer-Aided Mosaic Design and Construction

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1152564
Agency Tracking Number: 1152564
Amount: $500,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2012
Solicitation Year: 2012
Solicitation Topic Code: IC
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
21 Drydock Avenue, Boston, MA, 02210-2397
DUNS: 831119073
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Edward Acworth
 (617) 418-1928
Business Contact
 Edward Acworth
Phone: (617) 418-1928
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will develop a computer-aided mosaic design and robotic assembly system for automation of a centuries-old manual process. Despite their prominence in art and architecture, mosaics are arduous to design and assemble. Labor-intensive methods have stubbornly resisted automation, adding considerable cost and delay to projects. Artaic's Phase I research proved feasibility of computer-aided design software to create renderings and digital blueprints of artisanal mosaics by introducing a streamlined, procedural workflow for tile layout that closely mimicked the workflow of mosaic artists, and did so over 10x faster than manual methods. The goal of the Phase II research is to demonstrate the speed, effectiveness, utility, and artistic quality of this mosaic design and robotic assembly system. The key Phase II objectives are to: (1) demonstrate a prototype artisanal mosaic design system and; (2) demonstrate a robotic mosaic production system, that will be: (3) validated for accuracy, speed, and quality through user assessment, and; (4) evaluated for economic and commercial potential. Anticipated technical results will enable a revolutionary advancement from manual to automated processes in mosaic design and production, comparable to the displacement of film by digital camera technology. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project lies in art, design, construction, and architecture. Software and robotic automation will lower the cost of mosaics and increase its traditional societal impact of adorning public, commercial, and residential spaces. Artists, designers, and builders will have a significantly faster method to produce artisanal mosaics without the high cost and time associated with manual design and production. The efficiencies made possible by this proposed computer-aided mosaic design and manufacturing system will enable Artaic to expand into the global multi-billion dollar tile market and develop a domestic workforce to compete against global manufacturers of handcrafted mosaic artwork. Additionally, the computational demands of the rendering algorithms developed during Phase II will give impetus to further development of advanced GPUs and CPUs -- with companies such as Intel, Nvidia, and AMD providing solutions for increasingly more advanced rendering algorithms. Perhaps the most significant societal benefit from the development of this technology is its potential to make artisanal mosaic design and production accessible and affordable to the general public, and because this research enables any Photoshop artist to become a mosaic artist, it also hold significant promise as an educational tool in our nation's schools.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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