New System Lets Designers And Researchers “Draw” In 3D Space

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A new 3D interactive system created by researchers at the University of Montreal allows designers and builders to “draw” in scenes in real time. By projecting images on a thin material, the system, called Hyve-3D, allows you to swipe through scenes and make colors and shapes appear on walls and floors. It also allows for multi-user interaction – one designer can sketch some furniture while another can move it around.

The system is a bit complex. From the release:

What does control plane mean? “We use a Butterfly-net analogy to explain how the cursor selects objects in space – the users simply sweep the 3D cursors through,” Dorta said. “For the manipulations of objects, the users can use gestures and movements such as pinching and orientation.” The cursor is in fact being demonstrated within the researchers’ Hyve-3D design system, a full scale immersive 3D environment that enables users to create drawings on hand-held tablets, which can then be manipulated on the tablets to create a 3D design within the space. As the designers are immersed in their work, for example designing a living room, they can test different furniture options according to the scale and even work on the interior detailing. The immersive images are the result of an optical illusion created by a high-resolution projector, a specially designed 5m-diameter spherically concave fabric screen and a dome mirror projecting the image onto the screen. Specialized techniques render the 3D scene onto a spherical projection in real-time

In other words, the tablets act as 3D cursors. Your finger can slide through various objects and select them or you can draw right into the scene. While it’s not true 3D, the system does allow for some optical illusions.

The researchers will show off the new technology at the SIGGRAPH 2015 Conference in Los Angeles. No word on whether we will be able to drape a concave fabric screen over our living rooms so we can move IKEA furniture around in real-time in 3D.