Even though 3-D printers are becoming more and more affordable, the much needed 3D modeling software is still proving to be extremely complex for the average consumer to manipulate. Sixense is a virtual reality software firm that is trying to make the user’s experience more intuitive and engaging by introducing the new MakeVR technology.
Their hope is to provide a wider range of easier modeling techniques than the traditional catalogues filled with numerous, already-designed, printable 3D objects, many of which are completely useless to the average consumer.
There are two main components to the new 3D modeling package. The first is a professional level CAD system, or Computer-Aided Design software, that is similar to what engineers and architects use to create their massive buildings, bridges, and roadways. The second is a three dimensional, multi-touch, interfacing system that utilizes highly customized STEM wireless controllers redesigned by Sixense. The MakeVR handheld controllers work with the same advanced technology that is used in the Razer Hydra
electromagnetic motion tracking systems, a popular Sixense PC Game released in 2011.
Two hands means two individual controllers that each work independently from one another, allowing the users to perfect their 3D modeling through the use of two related, yet individual, screen cursors. Users no longer are required to manipulate the controls by keyboard or mouse because the two handheld controllers manipulate the CAD technology modeling process through hand movements instead. Think of this new process as “sculpting” a statue out of modeling clay the way that you would normally model an object in real life.
Users can quickly grab any model in any location, and spin it around or rotate the model to the preferred viewpoint, much like the Google Earth. Models can be scaled up or down, and dragged all around, simply my manipulating the individual hand movements closer together or further apart.
Collaborations in a shared 3D modeling environment are also possible because MakeVR allows for up to five modelers at a time to work on the same project. This requires an extra add-on feature which Sixense is calling “Collaborate3D”. Saving and printing is easy, too, allowing the users to connect to any type of 3D printer or to the Shapeways options with whom Sixense has recently partnered. Expect the starting average price of the basic software and two controllers to run around $399 USD with an additional $100 for the Colloborate3D Upgrade.