The most significant barrier to widespread 3D printing adoption is the difficulty of mastering 3D CAD software. MixFab hopes to overcome that with a new approach.
MixFab uses a “mixed reality” system in which designers see a 3D model as one might normally do with any 3D modeling software, but they can also introduce “real” objects into the 3D scene. That’s mixed reality.
Why do this? Real objects can be “scanned in place to make them virtual”. Imagine simply holding up an object in a 3D scene - and then it suddenly becomes part of the 3D model. That’s a unique and very powerful capability.
3D objects in the scene can similarly be picked up and moved about, just as one might do with real objects. You work with virtual objects in the same way as you would real objects. New virtual objects can be created using simple gestural inputs, like tracing your finger, pushing and pulling, etc.
Does it work? Yes - their video demonstration shows how the system can be used to create a custom pen holder in about three minutes. The pen holder also precisely fits their pen, since the real pen was used to carve out its own hole.
The software looks a bit rough as far as user interfaces go, but the underlying technology seems to work. This could be a winner.
Via MixFab (Hat tip to Christian)