The next generation of automatic slicing tools.
Kristian Hildebrand, Bernd Bickel, and Marc Alexa of the Technical University of Berlin have created a program to automatically produce slotting laser-cuttable templates from any 3D model. While several tools are available to slice a 3D form for laser cutting, this program is far more advanced than any I have seen.
Instead of creating slicing planes a particular distance apart, the program can automatically choose the best planes to maximize symmetry and coverage. In other words, it chooses planes that capture as much of the shape of the model as possible.
The program also guarantees the constructibility of the model. Since the selection of planes is much more complex than a typical slicing program, it is possible that planes could be chosen that block other planes during assembly. The program compensates evaluating all possible construction sequences.
Watch the movie and look at the images to understand how it works and see some of the sophisticated models it can produce.
Unfortunately, there are no plans to make this program publicly available anytime soon.