ECE 4760: Final Projects

3D Paint

A complete hardware and software package for true three-dimensional drawing

William Myers (

Guo Jie Chin (

"A 3D canvas on which the artist can draw using trilaterated coordinates from ultrasonic delays."

Project Soundbyte

For our final project in ECE 4760, we designed and implemented a three-dimensional paint program consisting of hardware, a microcontroller, and a PC running MATLAB. All three modules strongly interacted to allow the artist to wave a pen around in space and see their movements translated in real time to various projections on the computer.

An ATmega644 microcontroller calculates the time delay from the pen to three known points and communicates these values continuously to a PC running MATLAB via a serial port. MATLAB then translates the delay information to real xyz-coordinates and displays the data in various forms on a fully functional GUI. The artist can additionally use the pen as a camera to look around the design space.

We wanted to create this system as a facilitator of creativity. Because of the strong relationship between the artist and the medium, we hoped that a new take on the canvas would instigate new creative processes. This idea encouraged us to create a device as simple as possible so that as little technological bias would be injected as possible.