New 3D Modeling Interfaces Get All Touchy

By on November 19th, 2010 in Hardware


The other week a surprise announcement from Interactive Fabrication described their “Beautiful Modeler”, essentially a touch-based iPad interface to a 3D modeling program. Nice!
Also recently the MakerBot Blog reported on Dries Verbruggen demonstrating a no-touch motion-detecting way to sculpt a vase – which was then 3D printed to the delight of onlookers. Also Nice!
Previously we’ve reported on a Haptic approach, where you wield a sophisticated 3D mouse to push/pull your 3D model in a similar way. Still Nice!
We’re wondering where all this is going?
“Traditional” 3D modeling involves dimensions, mouse clicks, and a vast array of complex & precise tool buttons. And usually a rather fat How-To book. Quite different from the three new approaches above, all of which developed quite a buzz. Perhaps people want simpler interfaces such as these? Is there a reason that the easy-to-learn Google Sketchup is perhaps the most popular 3D modeler these days (OK, it might have to do with its price, too, we admit). But in general, simplicity rules – and these three new approaches oh so visually demonstrate simplicity. 
We predict a wave of simplicity. No pun intended.

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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