Paula Te

Email Portfolio Twitter Github


Fun and tangible 3D modeling for digital fabrication

In the era of personal fabrication, 3D printers are becoming widely accessible. 3D printing something from your imagination, though, is limited by knowledge and access to existing computer-aided design. TADCAD remakes the 3D modeling interface as a gestural and tangible platform, getting children engaged and inspired to build complex creations.

It recognizes simple 2D shapes and uses gestures to transform them into 3D. In the spirit of DIY culture, children learn the basics of 3d modeling by printing their own tools and building upon them. TADCAD bridges the physical and digital in ways that give kids confidence that they can build anything.

Today, TADCAD can exist in learning communities like schools, libraries, and maker spaces to teach the basics of 3d modeling. In the future, TADCAD can exist alongside the personal 3d printer as a new interaction paradigm for building in 3d.

Over 10 weeks, TADCAD was developed around insights from user observation and research, through explorations of how people communicate through gestures and observations of children playing with rough prototypes.

The final project timeframe was a great starting point in continuing to develop new ways of learning and interacting with digital fabrication. Future work with TADCAD would involve collaboration with educators to co-create the learning experience, and continual exploration of the intersection of movement, play, and interactions.

Find out more about my process through the top navigation links.


In the working demo / prototype, I create a creature using scaling and extruding gestures. These screen captures unfortunately do not show the gestures used to transform the shapes; I am gesturing over a Leap Motion (gesture sensor).

I make a tree in this preliminary prototype.


I presented TADCAD as my final project at CIID on Dec 10, 2014. Presentation transcript / notes probably coming soon.


TADCAD was at the CIID Final Exhibition, Dec 12 & 13, 2014. Did you make something at the CIID Exhibition?

View your TADCAD creations here.