The Cool Stuff Collective is a new UK-based kids show, where, well, "cool stuff" is demonstrated to children by well-known presenter Sy Thomas. In their first episode of September 13th of this year, they demonstrated 3D printing, but in a followup on September 20th they showed a related technology: haptic design. We've covered haptics previously, but if you don't know about it, it's the astonishing ability to "touch" virtual objects. One can only imagine the ease with which one could manipulate complex designs by touch instead of awkward menus and control interfaces.
In the Cool Stuff Collective episode, presenter Sy Thomas "was absolutely gobsmacked by his first experience of haptics when he actually touched and interacted with a VIRTUAL object as though it were a real 3 dimensional one. When Sy pushed into the sphere he had created on the screen he could really feel the object as though it was an actual rubbery ball."
We think haptics should be integrated into more 3D design tools, as it is a totally intuitive way to interact with objects, just as we do so in "real life". The fact that children, even TV presenters, are instantly able to use and appreciate them shows this is a great approach to 3D interfaces. The problem is the rarity of the required interface hardware.