Walk into any television and stereo entertainment store this fall and you willÂ be witnessing some of the latest 3-D television sets.Â Displaying 3D Blu-ray movies and soon to come 3D television shows, 3D documentaries, and even live 3D sports broadcasts.Â Imagine NFL football games on Sunday afternoons, let alone how this will improve seeing the undulating fairways and greens while watching Golf and the PGA at Augusta National for the Masters this spring!
Stereo imaging has been around for many years, but this latest advancement in Home Theatres has given us cost effective stereoscopic 3D flat screens and glasses allowing the viewer to travel through space, showing heights, depths and textures like we have never seen before - all right in our own living rooms!Â So, when will we adopt this this technology into our everyday Office Space?
Virtual Reality in CAD ( Computer Aided Design) has been around for a decade or more, used often in architecture to show fly through landscapes and streetscapes for construction projects, as well asÂ with a handful of high-end vehicle designs on Mercedes-Benz and Aston Martin cars.Â But this technology is now on the verge of being offered in Tablets and Laptops in a cost effective way getting this into the hands of every designer and engineer at their own desk!Â Â And so what we as a group of professionals really haven’t done before is engage this technology at very basic level of product design involving our engineering and industrial design in the day to day developments of a project.Â
Currently the best way to “see” a product for form and fit is to use Rapid Prototyping repeatedly, until we are comfortable with the end result.Â This is used currently because so much information and comfort level is lost on the CAD system when only being able to see the parts on a 2D monitor.Â Â
However a handful of companies have developed software and hardware for design professionals to start utilizing this advanced technology allowing for 3-D visual experience.Â Nvidia has been developing packages that give new tools to designers to create that next generation of products, 3D Vision gives “graphics solutions for real time collaborating design reviews complex data exploration, immersive realistic 3-D environments and faster time to insight”Â nvidia.com/object/3d-vision-professional-users
In the past 3-D vision technology has been out of reach for most of our desks and was at best used mostly as a board level type design tool.Â Â Imagine now, that theÂ design work environment can be done with 3D visual support on a single desktop monitor, no longer restricted to large projected images or using a CAVE, the rooms specifically designed for virtual reality simulations.
Operating with this kind of 3D vision is really very simple, all you need is a compatible 3D GPU ( graphics processor unit) a 3D vision ready flat screen display or projector and a set of the 3D glasses for viewing.Â With many 3D CAD software packages getting into the support of such technologies, companies like Rhino3D, Autodesk, Catia & Siemens are among the handful of CAD developers catering to this new technology.
So the big question is this, How will this new 3D vision change or improve the product development process and lower the costs to create and prototype new ideas and product ventures?Â Â Soon we will know, but it’s probably just a matter of time before the 3D stereoscopic display monitors start to take over, and the replacement of the 2D flat screen monitors in the Engineering and Industrial Design Offices become the norm, offering this new technology to the research and development process.