A central goal of computer graphics is to provide tools for designing and simulating real or imagined artifacts. An understanding of functionality is important in enabling such modeling tools. Given that the majority of man-made artifacts are designed to serve a certain function, the functionality of objects is often reflected by their geometry, the way that they are organized in an environment, and their interaction with other objects or agents. Thus, in recent years, a variety of methods in shape analysis have been developed to extract functional information about objects and scenes from these different types of cues. In this report, we discuss recent developments that incorporate functionality aspects into the analysis of 3D shapes and scenes. We provide a summary of the state-of-the-art in this area, including a discussion of key ideas and an organized review of the relevant literature. More specifically, the report is structured around a general definition of functionality from which we derive criteria for classifying the body of prior work. This definition also facilitates a comparative view of methods for functionality analysis. We focus on studying the inference of functionality from a geometric perspective, and pose functionality analysis as a process involving both the geometry and interactions of a functional entity. In addition, we discuss a variety of applications that benefit from an analysis of functionality, and conclude the report with a discussion of current challenges and potential future works.

Computer Graphics Forum
School of Computer Science

Hu, R. (R.), Savva, M. (M.), & van Kaick, O. (2018). Functionality representations and applications for shape analysis. Computer Graphics Forum, 37(2), 603–624. doi:10.1111/cgf.13385