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CAD/CAM Corner
Slideshow: Beyond the Mouse
8/8/2012

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The Sensable Technologies PHANTOM haptic device line allows users to touch and manipulate virtual objects. The PHANTOM Omni model, the most cost-effective one in the portfolio, offers a compact footprint, and a IEEE-1394a FireWire port interface ensures quick installation and ease-of-use. Pricing starts at around $2,400. (Source: Sensable Technologies)
The Sensable Technologies PHANTOM haptic device line allows users to touch and manipulate virtual objects. The PHANTOM Omni model, the most cost-effective one in the portfolio, offers a compact footprint, and a IEEE-1394a FireWire port interface ensures quick installation and ease-of-use. Pricing starts at around $2,400.
(Source: Sensable Technologies)

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naperlou
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Crazy stuff
naperlou   8/8/2012 9:53:19 AM
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Those are a lot of crazy devices.  I wonder if any will "win" in the market place.  I didn't notice tablet devices, except in the last slide as a secondary device.  My expeience is that these are still used by those who need to draw in any detail.  Do you see a future for these?

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Crazy stuff
Beth Stackpole   8/8/2012 10:22:43 AM
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@Naperlou: I definitely see a future for tablet use among engineers, although I guess I didn't envision it as an input device. Glad you brought it up. With more and more engineers out in the field at customer sites or collaborating with design partners in the field, having the mobility and the larger real estate of a tablet platform to conduct design reviews, visualize assemblies, do conceptual sketching--all of that work is easily translated to the tablet platform thanks to the incoming slew of mobile design apps.

NadineJ
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Re: Crazy stuff
NadineJ   8/8/2012 10:39:57 AM
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I've used a tablet for years because it mimics the natural movement of drawing by hand.

What about ergnomics?  These are really cool but the mouse isn't the healthiest thing to use.  Espeially when you're in front of the screen for seveal hours a day.

TJ McDermott
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Re: Crazy stuff
TJ McDermott   8/8/2012 10:02:33 PM
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Beth, I was going to say that a 3D input device is going to be limited by a 2D visualization, but InfiniteZ seems to have the answer to that, with what looks like will be the "holotank" of science fiction.

I look forward to seeing more from them.

bobjengr
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Re: Crazy stuff
bobjengr   8/9/2012 5:43:49 PM
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Beth, I definitely agree with you on this one.   My wife and one of our sons surprised me with a Kindle Fire for my last birthday.  I have been working with this marvelous device for several days now and have found the operation remarkable in that there is no real strain on my wrists or hands.  The apps that can be downloaded do just about all of the things I need done and then some.  I would gladly move my computer mouse to the shelf if I could use the tablet.  I can see a tremendous advantage for a CAD or CAE operators that live on a computer day after day. I  had no idea there were as many "options" relative to data entry.  I suspect most if not all of these are on the "market" right now and can be purchased.   Great post.

 

 

Charles Murray
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Re: Crazy stuff
Charles Murray   8/8/2012 5:17:52 PM
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Steven Spielberg had it right. If you remember the futuristic 2002 movie, "Minority Report," Tom Cruise interacted with his computer in 3D fashion, mostly by pinching, drawing and waving his arms. I think this kind of technology is inevitable.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Crazy stuff
Ann R. Thryft   8/8/2012 5:54:31 PM
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I think gesture recognition capabilities of input devices will be as revolutionary as the mouse was. The touchpad has already completely changed how I surf the web and work in my computer's OS. Gesture recognition will also be kinder to our fingers, wrists and tendons.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Crazy stuff
Beth Stackpole   8/9/2012 9:27:41 AM
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Steven Speilberg must have gotten a glimpse at his buddy Steve Job's early work in gesture interfaces for the iPhone and subsquent iPad. On a serious note, it's pretty crazy that what was considered out there 10 years ago is now pretty mainstream. All you have to do is hand an iPhone to a four-year-old and right off the bat, they intuitively know how to size and scroll through screens with gestures and pinch movements.

Charles Murray
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Re: Crazy stuff
Charles Murray   8/13/2012 10:39:08 PM
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If you haven't seen Minority Report, Beth, you should see it. Tom Cruise opens and closes screens and moves things around by waving his arms and using his hands, in a way the way that I imagine is similar to what you've described here. Also, I have a hunch you're right about Spielberg's connection to Jobs. I don't know anyone else who could have imagined that so accurately years before it actually happened.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Crazy stuff
Beth Stackpole   8/14/2012 8:21:55 AM
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If he imagined the gesture interface of today back then (without a peak from his buddy Steve Jobs) then Speilberg missed out on the opportunity to count tech genius among his many talents. I'll have to check out the movie, Chuck. Thanks for the heads up!

Greg M. Jung
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Clever Innovations
Greg M. Jung   8/8/2012 10:05:43 PM
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I am impressed how these inventors 'think outside the box' and by the imagination shown here.  Amazing how each started with the basic mouse concept and went off into so many different directions.

I've used the 3Connexion product before and was surprised how quickly my left hand became comfortable with this device.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Clever Innovations
Beth Stackpole   8/9/2012 9:30:31 AM
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@Greg: So you didn't experience any discomfort?

I think that as people get more accustomed to these new movements, it just becomes a more natural way of interesting with the computer. I've tried to use my daughter's laptop (which is my old MacBook) and I immediately get stymied because the gesturing and pinching movements supported by my new MacBook and that now don't seem strange to me at all, don't work on her system.

Greg M. Jung
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Re: Clever Innovations
Greg M. Jung   8/9/2012 1:44:16 PM
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@Beth:  I'll admit, at first this knob movement felt strange and awkward.  However, my left hand quickly got up the learning curve and became used to the required motions.  By the end of the week, I found myself subconsciously reaching for the knob to rotate and zoom the model with my left hand instead of using the standard mouse picks with my right hand mouse.  Overall, I liked the idea of using two hands to manipulate and create CAD models (instead of mostly using just one).

ChasChas
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Real Z-space
ChasChas   8/9/2012 9:27:20 AM
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As a mechanical machine design engineer, I have been looking for real Z-space forever. Holograms intriqued me. Now I must follow up with Infinite Z-space!

John
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3D controls and views
John   8/9/2012 9:56:03 AM
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These are really neat, usefull, and not to mention fun.  I wish I worked for a company that would spring for $75 mice like the one I purchased because it has 19 buttons and track resolution is completely adjustable.  I would have my stereoscopic glasses at work except the monitors are 60hz refresh.  But wait... I am using a $7,000 workstation with 12 Xeon cores nearly 3Ghz each and it came with a $10 two button mouse/keyboard combo.  I would love to see 3D devices in the work place, but I am afraid it's the employee who will be purchasing these things.  Until things get a lot cheaper it's the massive multiplayer online gaming mouse for me.  Heck, it even has that wow factor where the buttons eluminate and dim. 

Beth Stackpole
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Re: 3D controls and views
Beth Stackpole   8/9/2012 10:28:44 AM
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@John: You raise a good point at how to make the business case so employers actually invest in these devices for their engineers. That can be a pricey purchase for someone to make on their own.

tekochip
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Open to change
tekochip   8/9/2012 4:20:22 PM
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I think Engineers are probably more open to change than most people, since we are always working with new tools and technology, but it seems that the average person is reluctant to change.  I always get a kick out of people opening up their laptop and the trying to find extra space to plug in a mouse into it rather than using the touchpad or other input device on the laptop.


Beth Stackpole
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Re: Open to change
Beth Stackpole   8/10/2012 8:05:29 AM
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@tekochip: No doubt people hate change and you count me among that mix. The idea of having to learn new things simply to handle the day-to-day tasks that you do everyday is where people typically have the most opposition. But as you say, it's opening yourself up to new ways of working that ultimately might save you time and help you do a better job in the process.

SparkyWatt
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Re: Open to change
SparkyWatt   10/15/2012 1:40:31 PM
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It isn't really that you have to do it that is the problem.  I like learning new things, in good order.  The problem is that you have to do it so often.  If I have to spend a week on the learning curve, I would like to go a couple of months working efficiently.  The real problem is that this week you have to learn this change, next week you have to learn a different one.  It is hard to be really effective when you are never off the learning curve.  This situation is taken from annoying to explosive by managments who have to have everything yesterday.  You can't keep up at peak efficiency.  Being on the learning curve all the time just makes it three times worse.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Open to change
Beth Stackpole   10/16/2012 4:26:55 PM
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@SparkyWatt: Changing work patterns and work habits is the biggest obstacle to any new technology implementation. It's up to the providers of these new devices to make it somewhat intuitive to operate with tried-and-true design and engineering tools otherwise any added utility is for naught.

Dave
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Kinect represents the start of touchless manipulation.
Dave   9/17/2012 10:53:01 AM
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I think not enough credit was given to Microsoft's Kinect system, which was originally created for XBox and is now being integrated into many no-touch devices due to its low cost (resulting from large scale production).

It would not surprise me at all if this incredible device is integrated into the upcoming Windows 8 suit of computers, tablets, and phones. Exciting times are here; that is for certain!

JD-STL
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Iron
Minority Report interface is Oblong Industries
JD-STL   9/17/2012 12:03:11 PM
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Beth, John Underkoffler was the designer of the "Minority Report" interface. He later worked to make it real at Oblong Industries. Go to their website to check it out.

 

Ken E.
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The eye's have it.
Ken E.   9/19/2012 12:19:04 PM
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These inventors ignored the most natural of all pointers- our eyes!  Combine that with head movement for zooming and panning. 

Yikes, makes me dizzy thinking about a cursor flying around as fast as my eyes can move, but hey, they can fix that in development, right!

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