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Video: Purdue Researchers Develop Hands-On 3D Digital Modeling Tool

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Elizabeth M
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Clever use of Kinect and gesture sensors
Elizabeth M   7/22/2013 8:58:56 AM
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I think this is quite a clever use of motion and gesture sensing technology and gives designers a new way of doing things, especially for those of us who want to create new products but are challenged by traditional CAD tools. Not everyone works in the same way, and this makes the 3D design process far more intuitive. I look forward to see it in the commercial space.

Charles Murray
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Re: Clever use of Kinect and gesture sensors
Charles Murray   7/22/2013 6:23:28 PM
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I think it's great that it "enables anyone to be a designer." If you want to fire the imagination of kids and get them interested in design, this is a great way to start.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Clever use of Kinect and gesture sensors
Ann R. Thryft   7/22/2013 8:02:33 PM
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This looks like a good idea, but still in the very beginnings of usefulness to design engineers, since the shapes are extremely simple. Considering how complex some engineering shapes can be, I'm not sure if there's enough complexity in the possible number of hand gestures to achieve those complex shapes.

TJ McDermott
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Re: Clever use of Kinect and gesture sensors
TJ McDermott   7/23/2013 2:58:36 AM
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Ann, 20+ years ago the user interface for top-end, then-state-of-the-art CAD packages like CADAM included a tablet with wired puck-mouse on the right side of a keyboard, and a button box with 20 - 30 pushbuttons.  One could pick commands from the button box (say, line), and then use the puck on tablet to pick the points.

This 3D modeling tool may cause that button box to be brought back (probably as virtual buttons on a 10" IPad type interface).  The user would pick a primitive shape (revolved solid, prismatic solid, etc.) using the virtual buttons, then proceed to gesture using the Kinect tablet.

The Kinect interface could provide those virtual buttons, but the Kinect space may get too crowded.  Microsoft already has tablet apps that work in conjunction with Kinect.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Clever use of Kinect and gesture sensors
Ann R. Thryft   7/23/2013 12:57:57 PM
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TJ, I know how crude the 3D software was in the 1980s, since I reported the first 3D printer from 3D Systems. So this may eventually get better. All I'm pointing out is that it's crude now, and that the sophistication needed in user input may be far too complex to achieve by gestures.

TJ McDermott
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Re: Clever use of Kinect and gesture sensors
TJ McDermott   7/23/2013 1:14:53 PM
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Ann, I wouldn't call this crude at all.  I can easily see this evolving into a very workable interface.  But I think it will not work soley by itself.  There will be something like an IPad and a keyboard to go along with it.

Boy, combine this with a really good 3-D display (though I hate the glasses necessary), and you've got a heck of a design system.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Clever use of Kinect and gesture sensors
Ann R. Thryft   7/23/2013 1:39:03 PM
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TJ, the 3D shapes being outputted at this early stage are very, very simple compared to some of the more complex ones like rocket engine parts or aircraft components that DOD subcontractors and NASA are designing for 3D printing and additive manufacturing. Considering those added levels of complexity implies to me that similar added levels of complexity in gestures would be necessary. 

Elizabeth M
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Re: Clever use of Kinect and gesture sensors
Elizabeth M   7/25/2013 6:06:06 AM
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i agree with you, TJ, I think with the additions of some other helper devices, this could really be something professionals could leverage to make design more intuitive. I think Ann agrees with you, too, as I believe she explains in a comment. The 3D display is a great idea but you're right, those glasses are a bit clunky. But perhaps there will be some solution to replace them in the future...

Elizabeth M
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Re: Clever use of Kinect and gesture sensors
Elizabeth M   7/23/2013 5:22:18 AM
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You're right, Ann, it did seem rudimentary to me, too, at this point. But a good idea and possibly as it evolves it could become more useful to pros. I think in the early stages it's meant to be more for amateurs or hobbyists who want to design but aren't into using CAD tools.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Clever use of Kinect and gesture sensors
Ann R. Thryft   7/23/2013 1:02:51 PM
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Elizabeth, like I said I think this is a great idea. For educational purposes it sounds especially useful. I'm just not convinced it will work in actualization for professional engineers because of the complexity involved.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Clever use of Kinect and gesture sensors
Elizabeth M   7/24/2013 9:10:15 AM
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You're probably right, Ann. Perhaps a future version of the tool will be more suited to professionals. I think this one was meant to be more educational or hobbyist anyway. :)

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Clever use of Kinect and gesture sensors
Ann R. Thryft   7/24/2013 11:32:18 AM
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I sure think it's a great start! Maybe adapting it to complex designs will prove to be not only possible but open up a whole new field of R&D. Stranger things have happened :)

Elizabeth M
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Re: Clever use of Kinect and gesture sensors
Elizabeth M   7/23/2013 5:20:39 AM
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Yes, Chuck, I'm sure maybe "anyone" is an exaggeration, but it sure seems to simplify the process. And I imagine as you point out it will be especially helpful for kids to get them going and plant the seeds as early as possible for the next generation of engineers.

apresher
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Gestures
apresher   7/22/2013 10:32:14 AM
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Interesting post.  I can see where hand gestures will be an up and coming area with the rise of tablet computing and touchscreens.  Will be interesting to see how this develops and the kinds of specific interfaces it help to create for designers.

TJ McDermott
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Big Gestures
TJ McDermott   7/23/2013 3:05:07 AM
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The operator in the video can be seen making large hand gestures, squatting to get full range needed.  One might say this is a bit excessive for design work.  I think for professional use the gestures must be detectable when sitting at a desk, in a volume about 2 feet wide, 1 foot tall, and 1 foot deep in front of the operator.

On the other hand, designers all need more exercise so getting up out of our chairs is good for us, right?  Lycra running gear might be the new office-wear.

On the gripping hand, can you imagine taking a potential customer through the engineering department, seeing a bunch of Lycra-clad engineers behaving like lunatics?

Engineers would need bigger cubes, and taller walls, so that they do not add unwanted gestures to other 3D gesture modelers.

Many, many images come to mind with this technology.  It will be fun to watch how it progresses.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Big Gestures
Elizabeth M   7/23/2013 5:25:04 AM
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I agree, TJ, this tool has a bit of a way to go before it will be ready for professional use. But it's a good start! I think cubicles are probably getting smaller, not bigger, so those grand gestures you mention just wouldn't be practical unless someone was working from home! But I think that could also be physically tiring. As you point out, we'll just have to see how it evolves.

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