Solidworks is perhaps the best known 3D modeling system for industry, but now they’re introducing 3D tools for kids.
It’s called “Apps for Kids” and seems to be a portfolio of integrated functions. Here’s what it contains:
Capture It: A means to capture ideas and create storyboards and canvases, even with a smartphone. It’s not clear if this involves 3D scanning, but it definitely does include 2D images and video.
Shape It: This function appears to be a true 3D modeling system, although likely far less powerful than the company’s main system.
Style It: You can “style” your 3D model by painting, adding adornments and other aspects.
Mech It: This function appears to permit designing systems with mechanical components that interact with each other. This is typically an advanced function not found in introductory tools. It features “snap together” capability for easy designs.
Show It: Creates slide shows from the content made from the above functions.
Print It: An ability to print the content in either 2D or 3D. It’s not clear how the 3D prints occur, but we suspect they will be directed to a friendly 3D print service such as Shapeways, Sculpteo or i.Materialise.
At this time, the product has not yet launched and you can only sign up for notification of the beta launch. We also have no information on the cost of Apps for Kids, but it’s likely to be distributed at no charge.
Why would Solidworks do this? We suspect they are feeling the pressure from increasingly powerful competition and hope to make a toehold on future customers even earlier than they presently do with their academic software versions that are applicable to older students. It’s not a bad plan, but either way, it will no doubt provide yet another powerful tool for kids to learn the ways of 3D.