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SpaceClaim shows its hand(s) with regards to multi-touch

Published 20 July 2009

Posted by greg corke

Article tagged with: spaceclaim, windows 7, multi-touch, ergonomics

SpaceClaim has just posted a video on YouTube that is certain to grab the attention of multi-touch CAD fanatics. The video shows off some cool new multi-touch capabilities that are coming in the next release of SpaceClaim set for release this Autumn (Fall) and as far as I’m aware it’s the first time this type of technology has been seen in a commercial CAD system.

The video focuses on view manipulation using two hands, but also new ways of selecting and manipulating geometry including four finger box select and lasso select. There are also new ways to edit the model using multi-touch. You can start pulling on something and use one hand to drag the model away while the face you’ve selected stays put.

Now, if we ever had a topic that divides opinion at DEVELOP3D, this is one. Al Dean loves everything about multi-touch, he really can’t get enough of it and if he wasn’t on holiday at the moment he’d already have written a good thousand or so words on this. I’m a bit more pessimistic, and a little concerned about the potential negative impact on ergonomics as raised by HP earlier this year

I put my concerns to Blake Courter, co-founder of SpaceClaim and he explained that he’d been using his multi touch screen set up like a draughting table, not like a standard monitor set perpendicular to the user, and had had no problems at all, even with prolonged use. I’d also imagine this type of technology might not be used day in day out, perhaps during collaborative design sessions with designers stood around a wall mounted multi-touch display.

Blake also pointed out that the new multi-touch technology is not meant to be a replacement for keyboard and mouse and the mouse will still be very important, particularly where pixel accurate selection is essential.

SpaceClaim’s multi-touch technology is still very much in its infancy, but using two hands to make help design more fluent is certainly an interesting proposition. For example, one hand can stay on model manipulation/selection, while the other is used for changing tools, etc, cutting out unncessary mouse cursor movement.

We expect to see more announcements like this as Microsoft gears up for Windows 7 (which features touch technology built in), but it’s certainly exciting to see this technology in action.

I’d be very interested to hear your views on this. Do you think multi-touch has a crucial role to play in CAD or is it just a bit of a gimmick?

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How to buy a professional graphics card for SolidWorks 2009

Published 15 July 2009

Posted by greg corke

Article tagged with: delcam, powermill, powershape, copycad, garner holt

SolidWorks 2009 has one of the most advanced 3D graphics engines in the CAD industry, but what is it that makes it tick, how does RealView affect 3D performance and what do you need to consider when buying a professional graphics card?

I’ve put together my findings in a special report, which is due to appear in the July/August edition of DEVELOP3D magazine, out early next week. To make sure you get a copy, just register here now. And in case you didn’t know, it’s free!

I’d also like to take this opportunity to say a special thanks to Stuart Reid, Director, Product Systems & Graphics at SolidWorks

Labels: Graphics Cards, RealView, solidworks, VBOs

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Delcam launches video resource

Published 15 July 2009

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with:

Delcam always have interesting things to say and have a toolset that many vendors should be mindful of – and in many cases, simply do things that other 3D design and manufacturing systems can’t do. The case in point is the handling and mix/match nature of working with solid, surface, pointcloud and decorative forms you can do in PowerShape. Anyway, the team has just launch a video resouce at that shows this off and some of the work of its customers. Some of the highlights I found so far include the Garner Holt video on how it works on sculptures and animatronics for theme parks – it’s just a shame you can’t share/embed them more easily.

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A moral quandary: Should we cover the weapons and defense industry?

Published 09 July 2009

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: defense, a moral quandry, editorial direction

In the forthcoming issue of DEVELOP3D, we have a huge range of stories as ever (inlcuding a look at Vuuch, Inventor Fusion and much more). This month we also have a huge focus on hardware, how to choose it, how to maintain it and how to get the best bang for your buck. It’ll be with you shortly.

Elsewhere, we also have our monthly Product Development Gallery – and this month, it is bringing up something of a moral question that has bothered us in the office for a while now. That question is this.

Should a magazine such as ours cover the process and technology use involved in the development and manufacture of weapons, products that are intended to cause harm?

The perfect example of why this gives us nightmares is the product above, the Taser X26. To quote Stephen’s story, “The team work within AutoCAD and Solidworks to transform their original sketches and ergonomic foam models into 3D CAD data, testing it within ANSYS and CosmosWorks for drop tests. Parts are rapid prototyped in order to verify the design of parts, such as the important cartridge mechanism, before providing a pre-tooling release.” All very interesting details, but the Taser is controversial product.

The Defense industry is a huge part of the product development ecosystem and many of the most advanced users of technology are within that space. But when the end result is a product that can cause harm, should it be covered?

Part of me thinks, yes. If technology is used to improve these products, to make them more accurate, to make them less dangerous even in contradictory context of conflict or law enforcement, that’s a good thing.

The other part of me thinks No. Or should the whole thing be ignored and we carry on talking about less controversial industry sectors?

I’d like your thoughts please if you would make a comment on what you think.

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