Here the user draws strokes with help of a colored marker. The strokes are scanned with the help of a camera tracking/calibration alogrithm. 

The laser cutter tool path follows the strokes. Simply to say 'What you see is what you cut'

Can be extended to copying 2-D outlines from any physical object. Here we talk about such direct digital to physical conversion.

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Present day laser cutting tools allow users to do subrative manipulation of material, hence democratizing manufacturing. However, we felt that the methods to manipulate such machines aren't yet evolved enough. 


Hence we present, a pen stroke based UI for interacting with laser cutters, where the users can express themselves more directly by working directly ' on the workpiece'. 


Different colored markers allow different commands to be executed. We built a laser cutter from ground up, with computer vision and mechanics to optimize for the interface.



Pink arrow

Signifies custom cut position while copying objects/shapes


Red outlining

Signfies toolpath for the laser





A key motivation is to give users constant awareness of what they will be cutting so as to avoid the need for tedious test cuts.


“I haven‘t quite figured out where the laser cutter is going to cut on the work piece.”

“It‘d be nice if I could use my hand-tools the way I used to carpenter manually.”


“I don‘t really know if I can re-use that already semi-cut piece of acrylic, I’d rather take a new one.”


The above questions raise important concerns about the interface, affor- dance and efficiency of the present laser cutters. 



Tangibility and affordance of handtools while carpenters and architects use them

Version 1


Clearcut: Augmented Laser cutter


Anirudh Sharma, Meghna Bhat, Pattie Maes 

Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Indirect manipulation on regular laser cutters





           Anirudh Sharma     |    Nitesh Kadyan

 Some patents pending. All rights reversed. Special thanks to Green Pixel, Amna Carreiro, Enas A Alkhudairy

Pen Strokes
'Copying' shapes