We managed to get our hands on a Geomagic Touch Haptic Device and found it provides a surprising experience.
We were invited to digital sculptor Lilia Ziamou’s studio to check out the Touch, which is a handheld, 3D “mouse” that provides physical feedback to your hand.
Wait, what does that mean?
The “mouse” can be freely moved around in 3D space by your hand with no resistance. It feels very loose. But then the 3D “cursor” bumps into the 3D object being modeled and you suddenly feel a corresponding “bump” in the hand holding the Touch.
This is where it gets interesting, and actually rather difficult to explain in words. But we’ll try anyway. As you move the Touch around you gradually get a “feel” for the object being modeled. This is particularly true if you drag the Touch along the surface of the object all the way around 360 degrees – even behind the object from your screen viewpoint. As you do so, your mind gradually builds a mental 3D model of the shape. It’s an incredible way to work on a 3D model.
The Touch is accompanied by software that not only handles the 3D mouse aspects, but also provides a very comprehensive 3D modeling environment, too: Geomagic Freeformer. It provides many different modification tools, such as a knife, smoother, push & pull, etc., all of which properly react through the Touch to your hand. It’s like using real physical tools on a real chunk of material.