think3's latest release of its 3D mechanical CAD program, ThinkDesign™6.0, boasts its standard combination of parametric solids, advanced surfacing, wireframe, and 2D drafting on the desktop. But as it added functionality to the new release, think3 had to steer a careful path between complex CAD and ease-of-use, since the company cites simplicity as a major selling point. Version 6.0 uses two flashy advances to find this balance point—voice-operated CAD design, and video game-based training modules.
In a recent demo at our offices, the speech-enabled graphical user interface (GUI) reduced the clutter of intrusive dialog boxes, and allowed the user to issue "deep" commands without scrolling through icons and pull-down menu trees.
Users can now create CAD designs through three simultaneous inputs—keyboard, mouse, and voice, says Thomas Jensen, VP of R & D. Commands may include simple words like "zoom," "fit view," "redraw," and also numerical values, so the user can avoid punching numbers into a keyboard. The feature uses Microsoft's Speech Application Programming Interface (SAPI), version 5.0, a COM-based interface for third-party application developers.
And think3 is following on its popular game-based training program "The Monkey Wrench Conspiracy" with a new release called "Time Mechanic." Players in this adventure game must save the Earth from Kinodermi, an alien species that's trying to colonize the planet by using a time machine to sabotage humanity's greatest inventions. The winning player will beat the clock and repair the broken machines by fixing them in 3D CAD. think3 customers can download the game for free at www.timemechanic.com.
Additional Details... think3, 2880 Lakeside Dr., Suite 250, Santa Clara, CA 95054; Tel. (408) 987-2200; FAX (408) 727-0237; www.think3.com.
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