CAD/CAM Corner
CAD Upstart Gives Designers Holographic View

Objects in zSpace appear 'solid' in open space, allowing users to manipulate them directly as if they were real physical objects.
Objects in zSpace appear "solid" in open space, allowing users to manipulate them directly as if they were real physical objects.

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Re: Remarkably similar
jhankwitz   12/6/2011 11:52:57 AM
Not only is the illustration impossibly good, but impossible.  3-D hardware providers should be held to task for the missrepresentations they use in promotional pieces.  It's impossible to show/project/view a 3-D image beyond the edges of the screen. 

We see this all the time on TV when 3-D TV manufactures show a viewer watch an image fly off their TV screen and over their sholder.  Impossible!

What is presented here is a totally bogus artist rendering, selling a lie.


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Re: Remarkably similar
HBJimmy   12/6/2011 6:47:19 PM
jhankwitz - sure seems that way, and yet...

Some thoughts:  There was probably some embellishment in the "ad" (like seeing the object in front of the user's face).  However, there is still room for some 21st century 'magic'.  Just because you see what looks like a souped-up WACOM tablet doen't mean that **that** device is creating the images.  Note:  This is called "virtual hologram" - this means real holgraphy (lasers, whatnot) is probably not employed (not for $6000).  I imagine the image area is very large (and possibly curved - not a requirement).  The Start Trek WACOM Tablet is probably an image that is drawn on the big screen.  This gives you an "area of surprise" when you see objects rendered beyond its edge.  This also gives you a psychological constraining area.  For instance, if the tablet is 9"x9", you might have objects floating five or ten inches beyond the borders, but you wouldn't expect to see the object rendered eight feet away.  So the disappointment that occurs when you drag something past the edge -- and it disappears -- still exists, it's only 30 inches away from the edge of the "tablet."  This gives you a nice "play area" around the tablet.  The tablet which doesn't exist - it's an image on the big screen.  Nice magic.  Too bad the video took it just past "likely."

And nice find, Beth!  Can't wait to see one of these bad boys for real.

Charles Murray
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Re: Remarkably similar
Charles Murray   12/6/2011 10:35:14 PM
Real or not, this is an absolutely amazing way to do design work. I wonder how big the market is for this technology. Is Infinite-Z expecting broad use of this technology or is it a niche?

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Remarkably similar
Beth Stackpole   12/7/2011 7:07:04 AM
I think they're hoping for broad, Chuck, but at least for the near term, I expect it to be niche. It's cool stuff, but pricey and likely beyond the need and comfort zone of many CAD jockeys and engineers.

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Re: Remarkably similar
bbell   12/8/2011 2:23:17 PM
I work at InfiniteZ; hopefully I can clear some of this up.

The main point is: at no point do the pixels physically leave the screen.  If the user's view of a virtual object slides off the screen, he won't be able to see it; likewise, if the screen is occluded by a real object (like the user's hand).

However, within these limits, the system provides a true virtual reality experience:  the user can peer around virtual objects as if they were real, while directly manipulating them with the stylus.  With a conventional CAD interface, that kind of task would require the user to stop editing, tweak the view camera, then switch back to editing again -- but with virtual reality, this context switch is unnecessary.

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