Virtual Sculpting

Over at Make they posted an article about a new modeling package that allows you to build models with your hands. The package is very similar to a package my friend Dan Mapes developed in 1993 at the Institute for Simulation and Training. He called it virtual drafting board or something equally dry.

Of course back then it was running on a Sillicon Graphics hardware and it didn't look anywhere near as good as this product. We also didn't have those fancy hand trackers. We had polhmus nodes velcroed to the back of gloves. If your virtual hand stopped moving you had to check if your velcro was still attached before you got all in a panic that it was a code bug.

The pallete in the left hand is very similar to Dan's. Also, the scaling and zooming are similar. The interface seems to be buttons on the tracker knobs. The old interface was built into the gloves I mentioned earlier. The gloves had copper pads at each finger tip and would trigger bits on when two fingers came into contact.

I hope Dan is involved in this new project, it would be a shame for all his work to have to have been re-discovered from scratch.

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