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Sky is the limit for new product design

Published 17 May 2008

Posted by Martyn Day

Article tagged with: design, rendering, visualisation, art-vps

I’m always interested in new forms of transport and thanks to modern product design systems, new materials and a few determined inventors inability to limit their imaginations. The recent BBC news piece on Swiss ‘mentalist’ Yves Rossy’s home made rocket pack really is something else. Basically, the guy leaps out of a plane, his 3 metre wing unfolds and his four rockets ignite and off he goes. He has soared to heights of 8,000 metres at speeds over 100 knots. It’s probably not surprising that Rossy is an ex-military jet fighter pilot and commercial pilot, so he knows a lot about flying. It’s absolutely amazing and normally the kind of thing that’s mentioned in a conversation about the Darwin Awards, where some idiot has removed themselves from the gene-pool by doing something absolutely stupid and deadly, like attaching a rocket to their back, igniting it and flying into the ground.

It seems that he was formerly known as Jet-man but a sponsorship deal with Hublot watches meant he became Fusion-man to coincide with a watch name. Still, hey, you can’t blame him, the damn thing cost about $300,000 to develop.

Mr. Rossy’s madness led me to search for some more you tube fun. Looking for Swiss Rocket-man I found some chap who’d attached a rocket to his bicycle, reaching a speed of 242 Kmph, which is actually faster than Mr. Fusion-man’s rocket glider. The video doesn’t show how he actually managed to brake but we guess he survived. There is something weird happening in Switzerland, seems they will strap a jet engine to anything that blatantly shouldn’t!

I also found an actual new product, the world’s smallest helicopter. The Gen H-4, from Gene Corporation, costs about $32,000 and has two, 4 metre coaxial, contra_rotating rotors which eliminates the need for a tail rotor. The four 125cc 2 cylinder engines use standard petrol. The Gen H-4 can fly up to 1000 metres, at 59 mph for up to 30 minutes. It’s really impressive but I’m not sure about nipping to the shops in it.

You can’t have a round-up of ‘Jetsons’ flying vehicles without talking about Moller. The company has two flying cars in development. The two seater M200D Volantor is a round, space-ship like platform that can vertically take off and land and costs around $125,000. The ship is software limited to fly at 10 ft and uses 8 Moller’s Rotapower engines and Rotafan ducted fan for lift and propulsion, although the maximum payload is 250 lbs. I think this is the one i would choose for myself as it does have the air of a Marvel comic baddie vehicle. The M200D is a prelim to Moller’s other big design, the SkyCar.

and the Skycar:

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3D without glasses

Published 16 May 2008

Posted by greg corke

Article tagged with:

The first time I used a 3D monitor was at the end of the nineties. The problem was that to see the 3D image clearly I had to sit directly in front of the screen and even then it gave me an absolutely massive headache. With Philips’ new WOWvx 3D display you don’t have to sit directly in front of the screen and it doesn’t give you a massive headache. Now why didn’t the guys who developed my old 3D monitor think of that? To think how much paracetamol I could have saved.

Helping turn its WOWvx 3D technology into something ‘real’, the boffins at Phillips have teamed up with London’s Picture Production Company Group (PPC). The London-based outfit has plenty of expertise in turning 2D into 3D and is supplying media content for the displays. The major focus at PPC is currently on product marketing, but beyond turning heads in your local high street or car showroom, this technology has the potential to become an essential tool for the product development process.

Indeed, PPC told DEVELOP3D that they already have a motor manufacturer who is using this technology to revisit legacy 2D drawings, but is also considering putting the screens on designer’s desks for a true 3D modelling experience. Skipping industries, Dutch architects, OMA, is using the technology to bring its buildings to life for design exploration and client presentations.

In terms of producing the 3D imagery Philips explained that 2D video can be converted into 3D using a rather clever box of tricks called the Philips BlueBox. However, if a 3D CAD model exists, it can be adapted for the screen by taking it into 3ds Max and Maya and using special plug ins to produce the ‘2D plus depth’ file required for the display. It would also be possible to develop plug ins for other CAD applications.

Anyway, to learn more about the technology I’ve included the obligatory YouTube link. The problem is you kind of lose the effect a bit watching it on a 2D monitor. It’s a bit like watching R2D2’s Princess Leia hologram on the silver screen. OK, it’s not, but you get my point.

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ARTVPS Releases AV6.5 ART Renderer

Published 16 May 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with:

ART-VPS has released a new version of its ART Renderer which updates support for the latest revisions of 3ds Max and Maya and brings some new goodies to users. One of the biggest bottlenecks is the creation of accurate lighting and scene set-up to ensure your product rendering looks absolutely photo realistic.

If you haven’t come across ART-VPS (it stands for Advanced Render Technology - Virtual Photography Systems) it developers raytracing acceleration hardware in the form of standalone devices (RayBox and RenderDrive) as well as component cards for your workstation (Pure). New options include a new ‘infinity cove’ and ‘sphere’ options within a skylight feature allowing you to alter the shape of the environment dome upon which your HDR image is going to be mapped. The new real-time reflection feature enables users to view ART materials and HDR reflections in real time, giving you instant feedback and real-time environment shading reduces test renders.

There’s also a bunch of other updates including quicker GI (Global Illumination) calcs, added support for Microsoft Vista and RayBox monitoring system now runs better on Mac OSX.

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Microsoft Touch Screen TouchWall

Published 15 May 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: design, hardware, visualisation, user interaction, engineer, multi-touch

Seems like Josh over at SolidSmack.com got to it first, but this looks sweet. Its a hacked together rear projection unit with some fancy bits and bobs running on Vista. What’s interesting is the multi-touch manner. A lot of the CAD vendors are talking about this as the future - SolidWorks went multi-touch crazy at their press event preceding the last SolidWorks World. I wonder how it could be packaged up - maybe some sort of hand held device like the Wacom’s Cintiq maybe. One thing’s for sure, we all ain’t gonna be standing in front of a wall to get the job done are we?

As a recent convert to the Apple platform and owner of a macbook air, I have to say multi touch is pretty compelling - as this technology develops, its going to be interesting to see how its implemented in CAD systems. Of course, most of my work is done on a big old workstation running windows, but I do my writing on OSX.. but if I do fancy designing something, I now have the early test version of Rhino for the Mac - and that has multi-touch implemented in a very subtle manner.

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