The potential advantages of freehand sketches have beenÃ‚Â widely recognized and exploited in many fields especially inÃ‚Â engineering design and analysis. This is mainly because theÃ‚Â freehand sketches are an efficient and natural way for users toÃ‚Â visually communicate ideas. However, due to a lack ofÃ‚Â fundamental techniques for understanding them, sketch-basedÃ‚Â interfaces have not yet evolved as the preferred computingÃ‚Â platform over traditional menu-based tools. In this paper, weÃ‚Â address the specific challenge of transforming informal andÃ‚Â ambiguous freehand inputs to more formalized and structuredÃ‚Â representations. We present a domain- independent, multistroke,Ã‚Â multi- primitive beautification method which detectsÃ‚Â and uses the spatial relationships implied in the sketches.Ã‚Â Spatial relationships are represented as geometric constraintsÃ‚Â and satisfied by a geometric constraint solver. To demonstrateÃ‚Â the utility of this technique and also to build a natural workingÃ‚Â environment for structural analysis in early design, we haveÃ‚Â developed FEAsy (acronym for Finite Element Analysis madeÃ‚Â easy) as shown in Fig. 1. This tool allows the users toÃ‚Â transform, simulate and analyze their finite element modelsÃ‚Â quickly and easily through freehand sketching, just as theyÃ‚Â would draw on paper. Further, we have also developed simple,Ã‚Â domain specific rules-based algorithms for recognizing theÃ‚Â commonly used symbols and for understanding the differentÃ‚Â contexts in finite element modeling. Finally, we illustrate theÃ‚Â proposed approach with a few examples.
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