Virtual Cuts

Pork is big business in Denmark. Tiny improvements on each individual product translates into several million dollars saved. In 2009, a growing interest in product optimization coupled with the recent introduction of CT-scanning in the Danish abattoirs paved the way for new methods of product optimization.

Enter Virtual cuts, aka. PorkCAD. Utilizing CT-scanned data from a real pig carcass, the tool provides a new edge in pork product development, allowing sellers and buyers a better way to communicate the product that they bring to the market, together. Using a Phantom Omni, the user is able to create, modify, and delete planar cuts to virtually create the type of pork product the seller is interested in. The phantom Omni provides volume-based haptic feedback allowing the user to ‘touch’ the product in-creation.

Publication and resources

  • PorkCAD: Case study of the design of a pork product prototyper
    Lasse Farnung Laursen, Jakob Andreas Bærentzen, Takeo Igarashi, Michael Kai Petersen, Line Katrine Haarder Clemmensen, Bjarne Kjær Ersbøll, Lars Bager Christensen, in IASDR ’13: 5th International Congress of International Association of Societies of Design Research, pp. 1134-1
    Local PDF | Published PDF
  • Registration-based interpolation real-time volume visualization
    Lasse Farnung Laursen, Hildur Ólafsdóttir, Jakob Andreas Bærentzen, Michael Sass Hansen, Bjarne Kjær Ersbøll, in SCCG ’12: Proceedings of the 28th Spring Conference on Computer Graphics, pp. 15-21
    Published PDF
  • Anisotropic 3D texture synthesis with application to volume rendering
    Lasse Farnung Laursen, Bjarne Kjær Ersbøll, Jakob Andreas Bærentzen, in WSCG ’11: Winter School of Computer Graphics 2011, pp. 49-57
    Local PDF | Published PDF
  • Improving texture optimization with application to visualizing meat products
    Line Clemmensen, Lasse Farnung Laursen, in Scandinavian Workshop on Imaging Food Quality 2011, pp. 81-86
    Local PDF | Published PDF
  • Realistic Virtual Cuts
    Lasse Farnung Laursen, ph.d thesis, supervised by Jakob Andreas Bærentzen and Bjarne Kjær Ersbøll in 2012
    Local PDF

Quick Facts

  • 3 Year Ph.D. Project
  • Real-time Volumetric Renderer running GeForce 280M SLi coded in C++
  • Real-time hardware supported volume-data slicing
  • Phantom Omni integration
  • First of its kind, PorkCAD, computer aided pork product design
  • Qualitative user-study with 8 participants, in collaboration with Danish Crown and Danish Technological Institute


Completed in 2012, PorkCAD was – at the time – the largest single continuous project of my career, spanning 3 years. I’d be lying if I said that the thesis turned out exactly how I had hoped which I imagine is the case for a significant number of Ph.d projects. At times struggled to retain an interest in the subject matter for the full 3 years. If it wasn’t for my follow-up post.doc project, which I adored, I’m not sure how I’d feel about my Ph.d thesis.

I’m glad I finished it, but I still don’t know if I’d recommend undertaking one to other people.

A final thought in terms of lessons learned, was the fact that both during the design and testing of PorkCAD its interface proved highly intuitive. I was how surprised at how quickly and easily senior personnel were able to use the system. Due to the Phantom Omni‘s 6 degrees of freedom, PorkCAD could provide analogous movement of the controller and in-software point-of-interaction (pointer). It seems obvious in hindsight, but nothing comes close to scratching the intuitive nature of analogous behavior. If you have identical behavior occurring both on- and off-screen, then you’re on the right path.