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New ASU visualization and prototyping lab to be dedicated in memory of geometric modeling innovator Gerald Farin

April 19, 2017

When Gerald Farin worked with colleagues to establish the Partnership for Research in Spatial Modeling (PRISM) center at Arizona State University, he showed how design and the arts at ASU, as well as other disciplines, could benefit from geometric modeling. This Friday, more than two decades later, a new visualization and prototyping lab at the School of Art’s Grant Street Studios in downtown Phoenix will be dedicated in his memory.

This Binded Gypsum 3-D print, titled "Michael just shaved his beard and has been second-guessing since," was created by graduate art student Andrew Noble using resources from the 3DVP lab. Photo courtesy of the Gerald Farin Lab for 3D Visualization and Prototyping

“He was a trusted colleague and legendary teacher who guided a generation of students at ASU from 1987 until his death in 2016,” said Dan Collins, one of the founders of the PRISM lab and a professor of intermedia in the School of Art, part of the Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts.

In addition to founding the PRISM lab with Collins and colleagues Anshuman Razdan and Mark Henderson, Farin was a computer science professor for 29 years in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and considered a visionary.

“He was a brilliant computer scientist, educator and interdisciplinary thinker who was instrumental in establishing research in visualization and prototyping on the ASU campus and fostering an international dialogue around geometric modeling,” Collins said.

Just as the PRISM lab is a center for interdisciplinary research involving 3-D data, modeling, visualization and analysis, the new Gerald Farin Lab for 3D Visualization and Prototyping (3DVP) promises to be a space where researchers, students and collaborators will benefit from its resources.

Thanks to a generous one-time grant from ASU President Michael Crow, the lab will have five systems — four 3-D printers and one small CNC router, which will be on display during Friday evening’s dedication ceremony. The event will also include the unveiling of a new high-resolution, handheld 3-D scanner as well as DIY-type body scanners built with students. Artwork, forensic models from ASU West, medical teaching models from a collaboration with the Phoenix Children’s Hospital and more will be on hand at the dedication.

In addition, local engineer Steve Graber is in the process of building a large-scale “deltabot”-type machine for the lab that will be capable of creating a printed object more than 4 feet tall.

The School of Art, Fulton Schools of Engineering and the PRISM lab will dedicate the 3DVP at 7 p.m. Friday, April 21, at Grant Street Studios. The event coincides with Third Fridays, when the university community and the general public are invited to visit galleries, and the lab will be open from 6 until 9 p.m. 

School and Film, Dance and Theatre, Herberger Institute
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samccar5@asu.edu