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Elon Musk Shows His Vision of Holographic Design Technology

timothy posted about a year ago | from the and-for-his-next-trick dept.

Software 109

MojoKid writes "Tesla CEO Elon Musk has more on his mind that just cars and 4,000 MPH Hyperloop transportation systems. He also tweeted his intention of developing a hand-manipulated holographic design engine and designing a rocket part with only hand gestures, finally printing the part in titanium." And now Musk has posted the video he promised showing off the design process: "Musk showed a wireframe of the rocket part, and he was able to rotate the 3D object on a screen with one hand, and with a second hand, he zoomed in and out, moved it around the screen, and spun the object around and "caught it"--all in the air. He moved on to manipulating an actual 3D CAD model and interacting with the software; you can see that he used a Leap Motion controller. Next, he shows off a 3D projection, a freestanding glass projection (Ironman style), and interacts with the model using the Oculus Rift. Finally, he prints the part in titanium with a 3D metal printer. Note that we don't actually see him design anything; the models he works with are already made. Still, it's exciting to see new ways of doing things come to life on screen."

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first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784287)

first

Re:first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784371)

But what's that got to do with niggers?

Color me surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784357)

I thought this guy was busy all the time.

But no... he has time to play with motion controls, and do a video about nothing.

Why is this news? Why don't you guys put up an article that ballmer just discovered alt tab and clapped in his seat while giggling?

Re:Color me surprised (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44784411)

he's not really busy, from all that he is doing it seems that he is actually quite bored...

but. uh. how is waving in the air better than mouse and kb with cad?

I get it for model sculptures and such, but we're talking about parts here that you know the dimensions for and they need to be exact and the shape isn't really the thing and you're not going to handwave model a honeycomb structure inside the model(3d printing rulz) anyways are you?

what purpose does this whole pr piece serve?!

Re:Color me surprised (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#44784465)

It's not and people don't typically use a mouse for CAD. Sure a mouse is used, but most of the actual work is done via keyboard shortcuts because it's both more accurate and faster.

Re:Color me surprised (4, Informative)

MasterOfGoingFaster (922862) | about a year ago | (#44784561)

It's not and people don't typically use a mouse for CAD. Sure a mouse is used, but most of the actual work is done via keyboard shortcuts because it's both more accurate and faster.

So by "people don't typically use a mouse for CAD" you mean people do use a mouse. Uh.... OK.

Sorry, but the mouse is heavily used for CAD. The hot setup is a Space Pilot Pro and a multi-button mouse. Greatly reduces the use of a keyboard.

Re:Color me surprised (0)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#44786285)

What I mean is that people use the mouse to scroll around, and not for the rest of it.

And, I don't care how many buttons your mouse has, it does not have more than a keyboard. What's more, only an idiot uses a mouse as a mouse just does not have the level of precision necessary for CAD.

There probably are novices out there that never bothered to learn the short cuts, but anybody that cares about efficiency or precision is going to be using the keyboard almost exclusively.

Re:Color me surprised (4, Informative)

MasterOfGoingFaster (922862) | about a year ago | (#44787077)

What I mean is that people use the mouse to scroll around, and not for the rest of it.

Uh... no. We use the mouse to draw the sketch before we apply the the data-driven parametric dimensions.

And, I don't care how many buttons your mouse has, it does not have more than a keyboard. What's more, only an idiot uses a mouse as a mouse just does not have the level of precision necessary for CAD.

Yes, a keyboard does have more keys, but the 80/20 rule applies. And saying people are stupid for using a mouse tells me you lack the understanding of how a CAD system works.

There probably are novices out there that never bothered to learn the short cuts, but anybody that cares about efficiency or precision is going to be using the keyboard almost exclusively.

I've been doing CAD since 1980. I wrote a CAD application. I've been and AutoCAD and SolidWorks instructor, and run user groups. If you think a mouse if not used, or unsuitable for CAD, the you are either a troll are greatly in need of proper instruction.

Re:Color me surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44785727)

Just shows another toolset that's available if you need it.

Some people who do 3D work have at least three ways of going about their virtual-space. The tech is long proven and usually works quite well. Analog joystick (usually an OTS gaming model is good enough) for large scale space navigation (works great for fly-through mode), trackball for quick manipulation (spin that object around and stop where you want precisely), and mouse or tablet for the fine detail work.

This new thing may combine some traits of all three of those, but will it come in for under $150? (Which can easily be done by buying a fligh-sim joystick, a trackball, and a mouse.) At least it's showier for presentations and doesn't appear to clutter up the desk.

Re:Color me surprised (1)

Omestes (471991) | about a year ago | (#44787849)

This new thing may combine some traits of all three of those, but will it come in for under $150? (Which can easily be done by buying a fligh-sim joystick, a trackball, and a mouse.) At least it's showier for presentations and doesn't appear to clutter up the desk.

Why would it have to be under $150? If we're talking industrial CAD applications, money isn't that much of an object as long as it is more effective/efficient. We're not talking hobby work, or making video game models here, we're talking rocket engines. If you can afford to manufacture a working rocket, and launch it, I doubt you care if you break $150 for an input device.

I can do most of my stuff with a $200 point and shoot camera, yet I have a fairly pricey kit... Why? Versitility and increased effectiveness. I don't own the most expensive (or even close to it), because there is a point, for what I need to do, where diminishing returns set in. If I really needed it, and made enough to warrant it, I'd cough up more.

Re:Color me surprised (2)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about a year ago | (#44784413)

I think it's great. Somebody with capital and grand long term visions. Usually you're stuck with one or the other; this is the attitude we should be promoting.

Re:Color me surprised (4, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#44784545)

I think it's great. Somebody with capital and grand long term visions.

Even when you have money and a long term vision, some ideas are just dumb. Like the Segway.

This is one of them.

There's a reason why you only see interfaces like this in the movies, and it's not because the technology isn't there. It's because waving your hands in the air for a whole workday sucks. Someone in this thread mentioned light pens. When you no longer had to hold your arm up to the screen because of the popularity of the mouse, light pens disappeared from everyone's desks.

This interface sucks even in concept.

--
BMO

Re:Color me surprised (1)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#44784637)

What's wrong with a Segway? Self-balancing, 12 MPH, silent, small, compatible with people, and fun to ride?

It's not a dumb idea. Some of the grand visions aren't likely to come to pass, like cities designing themselves around Segways, but the ideas were never dumb.

Re:Color me surprised (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784803)

What's wrong with a Segway?

It's too expensive. Amazon is selling the consumer model for ~$6k. A new, really cheap small car can cost $12k. An cheap electric bicycle can cost less than $1k, and a Honda moped can be had for a little over $2k.

Re:Color me surprised (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#44784827)

It's not a dumb idea.

>goes 12mph
>cost in thousands, indeed as much as a full blown motorcycle.

And what does a good quality bicycle cost at a bike shop? How much does even an e-bike go for?

The Segway is a dumb idea.

--
BMO

Re:Color me surprised (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#44784693)

There's a reason why you only see interfaces like this in the movies, and it's not because the technology isn't there. It's because waving your hands in the air for a whole workday sucks.

While true, there are many people stuck doing this -- mostly outside of computer-task work.

On the upside, this could get people to step away from their screens (staring at a computer monitor for a whole workday sucks) and stand up from time to time (sitting for a whole workday is bad for your health). Using hand motions may actually balance out your fitness with your effort, and using a decent 3D display would be helpful for your eyes.

Still sucks though.

Re:Color me surprised (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about a year ago | (#44784911)

Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it's a dumb idea.

Re:Color me surprised (3, Interesting)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#44784955)

Then start marketing light pens. Make a new kind that can be used on LCDs.

See how far that gets you.

Here's a protip: a lot of the hate pointed at Windows 8 involves a touch interface on a desktop operating system.

It's not just me. It's over 40 years of UI research.

--
BMO

Re:Color me surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44787475)

I think Musk is just developing a severe superiority complex because of the relative success of his other ventures...as well as the backlash from the "traditional" manufacturers. He actually believes himself a Tony Stark-type, a genius inventor who could change the world, become a hero. You can read it in the things he says and the ambitions that he throws out there...now he's literally trying to re-create a scene out of Iron Man, as if he weren't trying to make it obvious enough already.

Money can make a person delusional, or at the very least, more confident than reality supports.

Re:Color me surprised (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44788199)

It's dangerous to get too caught up into the idea of 'gorilla arm.' Gorilla arm is a real thing, and it has ruined a lot of potential interface ideas, but

consider now all that tablets that have touch screens. There are plenty of ways around the problem, and holding your arms up isn't bad if you have decent ergonomics (conductors do it a lot, and a lot of people gesticulate while talking for long periods of time. Holding your arms at the level of your diaphram is different than holding them at eye level). By changing the monitor gorilla arm could go away. There's no reason monitors have to be put on your desk vertically.

Gorilla arm is just a problem that needs to be solved. It doesn't mean that every device with a touch-screen is doomed.

Re:Color me surprised (1)

dinfinity (2300094) | about a year ago | (#44789923)

conductors do it a lot, and a lot of people gesticulate while talking for long periods of time.

For 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 40 weeks a year?
Your argument is invalid.

Re:Color me surprised (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44790719)

Some do it 60 hours a week.

Re:Color me surprised (1)

dinfinity (2300094) | about a year ago | (#44791035)

Conductors? No: http://www.childrensmusicworkshop.com/resources/articles/prosandcons.html [childrensm...rkshop.com]
For the other part, you're going to have to give examples. I'd like to say up front that gesticulating while talking is generally facultative.

Re:Color me surprised (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44791099)

I'd like to say up front that gesticulating while talking is generally facultative.

ok, keep going along that line of reasoning and you'll actually end up agreeing with me.

Re:Color me surprised (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#44790851)

>It's possible to have a desk with a sunken monitor, so you don't have to lift your arm so much.
>There's no reason monitors have to be put on your desk vertically.

But there's a reason why this isn't popular. Because you get a crick in your neck if you're looking down all day. The only desks I see where the monitor is sunken and tilted at an angle are "executive" desks that cater to the suits.

Sinking and tilting the monitor creates new problems.

Touch is great on tablets and other devices where the environment is hostile to keyboards and mice. Touch screens can be good (but not great, I'll get to this in the postscript) for machine tool front panel controls, for example. Carrying around a keyboard with you everywhere with a tablet sucks. Thus, touch. This is fine.

But touch on a desktop OS, except for edge cases, is nuts.

--
BMO

PS: Using a touchscreen instead of a front panel with physical switches removes one-handed "blind" operation - where you can look at the work being done and not at the front panel, and switch/knob identification by feel. A stop switch feels different than the sunken and guarded start switch.

Re:Color me surprised (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44790925)

But there's a reason why this isn't popular. Because you get a crick in your neck if you're looking down all day.

I don't think that's really a problem. I went all through school looking down at my desk without getting a crick in my neck.

Overall I agree with you that there are problems with touch screens and alternate interfaces. The difference is that I see them as obstacles to be overcome, not insuperable eternal laws. For this to succeed Elon Musk is going to have to show how he's overcome these problems, but unfortunately it doesn't seem like he's really thought of them.

Re:Color me surprised (2)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#44790975)

"I went all through school looking down at my desk without getting a crick in my neck."

You weren't 47 years old.

"The difference is that I see them as obstacles to be overcome"

Just because something is of old design doesn't mean it's crap. We are all still human with human limitations, and until we all become disembodied and living in the Singularity (spit) we are going to have to have interfaces and tools that match our anatomy.

--
BMO

Re:Color me surprised (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44791109)

we are going to have to have interfaces and tools that match our anatomy.

Well mouse and monitor sitting in a chair at a desk definitely isn't that. It's just what we cope with until something better comes along. I get mouse pains in my hand and I'm still not 47.

Re:Color me surprised (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#44791179)

I get mouse pains in my hand and I'm still not 47

1. Use different devices.

a: Change your mouse. I thought I had a great mouse when the Logitech MX1000 came out, until my arm hurt from my wrist to my shoulder after two weeks.

b: use a different device entirely. Try a trackball. There are also are foot-controlled "mice"

http://bilila.com/foot_mouse_slipper_mouse [bilila.com]

2. Raise your arm or lower the mouse and support your arm from the wrist to your elbow. This helped me a lot.

Disclaimer: this is not medical advice. It's just my own experience.

--
BMO

Re:Color me surprised (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44791233)

See? You're great at thinking of solutions to mouse problems. If only Elon were so creative in overcoming holographic problems.

Re:Color me surprised (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#44791887)

Just because I am against one use case doesn't mean I'm against others.

--
BMO

Re:Color me surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784589)

Exciting breaking news this very minute:

Elon Musk is demonstrating he can control the cursor waving his 2-3/4" erect penis in the air.
Just because you could doesn't mean you should.

Re:Color me surprised (1)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#44784605)

Exactly! Here's a guy desperately trying to make things as cool as Tony Stark, and people are filled with reasons he shouldn't.

Elon Musk, you can be Ironman. I approve.

Re:Color me surprised (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about a year ago | (#44784467)

That's not even a good troll.

This is really neat stuff. But really, to me the biggest breakthroughs that Musk has made are bureaucratic. In other words, he cuts out a lot of the BS most everyone else in a large organization has to go through. When they want to try something they just try it. No endless discussions about trade studies. No endless process for getting approval to add an "if" statement to your code. He just has ideas and they try them out.

Re:Color me surprised (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about a year ago | (#44784513)

What is this "alt tab" of which you speak?

Re:Color me surprised (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#44784703)

What is this "alt tab" of which you speak?

Here [coloribus.com] of course.

No drafting (2)

mill3d (1647417) | about a year ago | (#44784423)

As TFA pointed out, no actual drafting is shown. While it's a nice way to visualize a part, I can't see myself using this to do any actual modeling work with this kind of input (gorilla arm, etc...). We might get there someday, but that'll take a smart input system that doesn't defeat the flexibility of the software in the process.

Nothing to see here.

Re:No drafting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44785401)

Gorilla arm is bullshit. Stop using it as an excuse for laziness because that's all it is. Plenty of people use their arms all day long. Cooks, artists, people who physically write, assembly line workers, fast food workers, construction workers, people in sports, dish washers, drivers, pottery, landscaping, etc... And secondly, having a display 'in the air' doesn't mean you can't rest your forearms on something. Why are you afraid of getting a little more arm strength and increased endurance?

Why aren't people complaining about gorilla legs from having to walk from their car into their offices, from their office to their restroom, getting up to get food, walking back to the car, walking from the garage to their kitchen, etc... We can easily engineer seats with built-in toilets, compartments for food, and everyone can work remotely. It's all bullshit that's why.

Re:No drafting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44786107)

You're bullshit. Few of those people hold out their arms in front of their bodies touching a stationary surface for hours on end. Except maybe sculptors and ceiling muralists, but even they move around a bit.

Why aren't people complaining about gorilla legs they would be, but legs seem to be pretty adapted to the uses you outlined. Maybe people should point their legs at the sky for prolonged periods, so they can complain about it?

$2.99 app on leap motion app store (1)

goombah99 (560566) | about a year ago | (#44785621)

I did not see anything that isn't a cheap app already available on the leap motion app store website. Seriously, people who do molecular modeling have set ups like that for decades.

If you don't believe me, go test drive Fold It, the protein folding game. It works with Leap motion and does the same thing. You and use it to engineer molecules by moving the parts around, slicing through them to see 3D crossections, etc...

Well, if nothing else (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44784429)

This shows that touch screens are already obsolete...

Yeah... it is cool.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784447)

now... try raising your hands in the air 8 hours a day, 5 days a week... ... and let's hope you don't need to work over time.

Re:Yeah... it is cool.. (2)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about a year ago | (#44784507)

"...try raising your hands in the air 8 hours a day, 5 days a week..."

Good point. It's better to lay your arms out in front of you repetitively pressing keys and buttons for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. No ill effects from that at all.

Re:Yeah... it is cool.. (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#44785751)

Did that (keayboard and mouse) for 15 years and 8+ hours a working day, no ill effects so far. If you no not exercise at all outside your KB+Mouse activities, that may be the real problem...

Neat stuff! Do not want. (4, Interesting)

Guano_Jim (157555) | about a year ago | (#44784451)

This video is some great gee-whiz showmanship, which gets Joe Sixpack excited about technology and maybe sells a few more Tesla cars a couple years down the road.

But man, I'd hate to try and design anything by holding my hands in the air for six or seven hours a day.

Might be cool for next-generation Kinect-style gaming though.

Re:Neat stuff! Do not want. (0)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year ago | (#44784619)

But man, I'd hate to try and design anything by holding my hands in the air for six or seven hours a day.

Yeah, it must suck to have to stand once in a while and get some fucking exercise. How's that deskjob working out for you?

Re:Neat stuff! Do not want. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784745)

I have the leap motion controller and the limitations on it are actually pretty bad. You will notice in the video how he does not move his hands far from the origin of the leap controller (it's sitting below his hands), and the rotations of his wrists are kept to a minimum. That's because the leap controller doesn't actually simulate your hand skeleton, so that if you rotate your thumb pointing straight down at the device, the device loses track of it. Their current API only exposes finger tips, palm normal, and tools like a pencil, and perhaps some other things I'm not remembering. Despite countless requests on their forums, no point cloud data is exposed to the host machine that would make this tool as useful and flexible as a kinect.

This is showmanship built on top of showmanship.

Holographic? (2)

nurb432 (527695) | about a year ago | (#44784457)

Not from what i see... Getting tired of the term being misused.

Re:Holographic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44785125)

To be fair, that term was used by the journalists - not musk.

Translation for the CAD crowd - smoke and mirrors (4, Interesting)

MasterOfGoingFaster (922862) | about a year ago | (#44784495)

In a nutshell, he shows a gesture-operated wireframe or shaded model viewer. All that was shown was zoom, rotation and moving the clipping plane. It must be impressive for the non-CAD crowd, but I didn't see anything new that was practical, and there are far better viewers already available.

Elon Musk tweeted "Will post video next week of designing a rocket part with hand gestures & then immediately printing it in titanium". But the video says he designed the parts in Unigraphics, so it was NOT designed using hand gestures - unless you count using a mouse as "hand gestures".

Anyone that has used a solids modeling CAD application with a Space Controller in the last 17 years has been able to do pretty much all of this and more (not counting the use of Ti in the printer). But Space Controller + mouse users keep their arms on the desk, rather than waving their arms in the air (fatiguing). So thanks for thinking of us, be we designers do NOT want to hold our hands in the air. We had enough of that crap with light pens.

In all fairness, the one nice thing the video suggests is the gesture-operated viewer might make sense for a standing presenter. The Space Controller requires a flat surface to rest upon, so gesture-operation might make sense for this application.

"Space Controller" is a trademark (2)

MasterOfGoingFaster (922862) | about a year ago | (#44784599)

I should point out that the term "Space Controller" is a trademark for this product:
http://www.spacecontrol.us/spacecontrol-3d-mouse-spacecontroller.html [spacecontrol.us]

But I usually see the Logitech 3DConnexion Space Mouse, which is often (incorrectly) called a space controller:
http://www.3dconnexion.com/ [3dconnexion.com]

Mod parent up (5, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#44784671)

Mod parent up.

Look at the video around 1:54, where Musk is saying "go in there and do what you need to do". But all the video actually shows is someone spinning the model around and using a visual cutting plane to display cross sections. At no point in that video is new geometry created. What I was expecting to see was a breakthrough in how to do engineering design in 3D. It's not there.

Back in the late 1980s, Autodesk built a virtual reality system as an experiment in CAD. They got about as far as Musk, although at lower resolution - you could look at models and manipulate them with a gloves-and-goggles interface, but trying to draw surfaces in free space was really hard. Some people can do it. They can also do clay models freehand. Today, there's Autodesk Mudbox, a 3D sculpting tool which is used by pros who can visualize clearly and in detail in 3D. Watch this video [youtube.com] to see one at work. That's impressive work. Now see something similar done with 3D input devices. [doc-ok.org] It's like trying to sculpt while wearing oven mittens, and the results are awful.

Somebody will eventually make this work, but the computer, not the human, will be doing most of the design.

Autodesk VR (1)

MasterOfGoingFaster (922862) | about a year ago | (#44784783)

I used that Autodesk VR rig around 1992. It used a pair of Silicon Graphics workstations - each powered one side of the VR stereoscopic viewfinders. The DataGlove interface was interesting, but not very useful. There was lots of work in stereoscopic displays in the 90's using LCD-shuttered glasses. In fact, it looks a lot like the OP's video.

Re:Translation for the CAD crowd - smoke and mirro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784823)

I teach CAD and CAE productivity and my initial question was: Why does this seem lamer than i tough? And i thought it would be lame.

Give me a system that can translate the data between all CAE applications with NO LOSS of design intent THEN I will be impressed.

leave HCI to the experts (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#44784515)

Designing 3D parts is tricky business and involves both engineering and lots of skill. What kind of 3D controller you use is usually the least of anybody's worries. Most designers I know use a big screen (no 3D) and a mouse, a tablet, and maybe another 3D controller.

Well... (1)

jonr (1130) | about a year ago | (#44784521)

So... when we will see his exo-skeleton rocket suit?

Nothing special (3, Interesting)

Tinmith (414125) | about a year ago | (#44784531)

This kind of thing has been done for years/decades, and is used a lot in industry already. I know of many companies that are taking their CATIA or NX models, and visualizing them in VR or CAVE systems. You can even buy software which has been written to solve this problem for you ... you just buy the VR hardware, load your model in, and you can manipulate it. For example, here is a video of something that you can go and buy right now ... http://www.worldviz.com/industries/cad ... the sample video uses a stereo projector and a wand, but you could easily use Leap Motion, a full motion capture system, or whatever hardware you have.

The gestures he shows in the video are also very primitive, and did not appear very intuitive. He spins his hand in one direction, and the model rotates about a different axis. Just spinning a model around is not really designing anything, it is just a preview technique. And in some ways, using a mouse could probably be less fatiguing and more intuitive. The real holy grail is addressing the problem of creating models from scratch. And making them accurately so the designer gets what they want, and typically designers will probably want to use a keyboard so they can enter in exact dimensions. But this is not addressed in the video, but I'm sure everyone will think that is what they actually can do.

But because Elon Musk is doing this and now you are seeing it in the popular media, he must have invented it, right?

If you want to see something really cool, check out this system, the Lockheed SAIL, which was done years and years ago ...
http://www.motionanalysis.com/html/temp/lockheedHIL.html

Re:Nothing special (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about a year ago | (#44784841)

Does an open source version of this exist yet?

Got to play with this last week at SpaceX (2)

roberthead (932434) | about a year ago | (#44784563)

It's a great proof of concept. I got to play with it with the hand controls and 3d glasses. Visually impressive. Works well for examining something, but doesn't feel terribly useful for design because it's not very precise. Technologically, it's still early -- buggy Windows app that crashed on me after 5 minutes of exploration. tl;dr Great first steps.

This is a video game not real engineering (3, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#44784569)

The hard part is the real science and engineering behind the part. The deep understanding of the material characteristics that are the result of the the metal and the manufacturing process. The lifetime of the part and how it's affected by it's use history. The stress and vibration the part endures. What safety margins you need. And how to get all that in a cost effective way.

Making a 3D image is not engineering the part. It's just a drawing from the most trivial aspect - the dimensions of the part.

Re:This is a video game not real engineering (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about a year ago | (#44784825)

I don't think he catering to the knowledge base, but to our grand parents. When issues are reduced down to engineering issues, mechanics issues are next to solve. Then finally, the pay check? (I hope this time.)

mod 0p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784571)

40,000 worKstations

Great for presenting, not for creating. (3, Informative)

JoshWurzel (320371) | about a year ago | (#44784581)

I'm a fairly regular (though not extremely skilled) user of 3D CAD software. I suspect that this would extend the time to perform simple tasks when compared with a 2D & a 3D (space) mouse.

The fact that Elon Musk doesn't design a part in his demo is telling. That part is VERY simple to create in today's UIs: a simple revolve of a cross section with a couple of patterned extrusions around the circumference. I see 5 distinct operations, and a more experienced person could probably make it in less. Just a couple minutes for even an amateur like me.

I think other 3D users will agree with me that this will increase the time for common tasks like selecting edges for radius/chamfer/draft and the critical sketching/dimensioning of cross sections for extrusion. A mouse pointer is so precise. To get the same level of accuracy with this system, you'd have to zoom in several times to make sure the correct feature/surface/edge is selected before you can perform any operation.

Creating the 2D drawings, which are still required for actual production, will also take much longer with a system like this.

There are many analogies for non-3D users, such as art programs or scale model/figure painting. I bet this is very similar to a programmer watching Johnny Mnemonic or Swordfish and saying "yeah, hacking doesn't work like that, that's ridiculous".

I've pre-ordered a Myo Armband and I'm hopeful that I can make it do some cool things with my CAD station. But for now I don't see this as anything more than a way to show your Director or VP the cool work you've been doing or communicate issues/challenges in the mechanical design to non-MechE's.

Re:Great for presenting, not for creating. (2)

LifesABeach (234436) | about a year ago | (#44784805)

So, how would you do it better?

Re:Great for presenting, not for creating. (1)

JoshWurzel (320371) | about a year ago | (#44785345)

The point of my post is that its already being done better with today's technology and that this proposal is not an improvement. Currently, mechanical designers & engineers are using a combination of a 2D & a 3D mouse. The 3D mouse handles the pan/scan/zoom on a large-screen LCD and the 2D handles the fine control challenges. The 3D mouse is not technically necessary, as the same functionality can also be achieved using modifier keys in combination with the standard mouse, but it does make things smoother. So really this system isn't solving any problems.

If we really want to do it better than today, we need some sort of eye-tracking and/or brain-scanning to eliminate the lag of accurate selection. But there are still a lot of challenges, such as gorilla arm which posters noted. There's no clear solution to the fact that humans aren't design to hold up their arms for 8 hours a day...except maybe modifying ourselves!

Re:Great for presenting, not for creating. (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about a year ago | (#44786767)

Interesting, my thoughts were around the idea of tracking the eyes, as the person describes stuff. Interfaced to Blender3D, with several types of mechanical engineering analysis packages applied to the object to be designed, and something like Siri with the Keyboard?

Re: Great for presenting, not for creating. (1)

kh_naba (633761) | about a year ago | (#44788447)

I would imagine new interface would entail new controls. It's obvious that hand waving cannot really operate conventional mouse-centric controls in current CAD systems. But new and innovative 3D on-screen tools specifically made to interact with gestures could make it work (becoming more closer to virtual sculpting). As for hand fatigue, muscles could get used to it. Extra supports could also be provided at elbows for regular operations. The first time touch-typing is also exhausting to fingers and wrists.

True love! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784591)

MojoKid 3 Elon Musk 4 ever!

This is *NOT* holography... (1)

Arkh89 (2870391) | about a year ago | (#44784593)

Don't use the word "holographic" or "holography" when the actual display technology has *NOTHING* to do with Holography.
Otherwise, it just makes you sound monkey-level-techwiz stupid...

Re:This is *NOT* holography... (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#44785935)

Otherwise, it just makes you sound monkey-level-techwiz stupid...

We call then journalists or reporters. They care more about what clothes they wear than the actual story. (not all of them, just an overwhelming majority)

Elon Musk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784617)

Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon

Is that enough Elon Musks for today or should i add a few more ? Did Elon Musk poop today ? What did Elon Musk have for breakfast ?

Just wondering... (2)

simplypeachy (706253) | about a year ago | (#44784623)

...how will he solve the ice problem?

Re:Just wondering... (1)

angelbar (1823238) | about a year ago | (#44784661)

More mod points here please !... (I dont have at the moment)

Re:Just wondering... (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#44785951)

NOT gonna happen... use your own points.

Re:Just wondering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44788565)

By "ice", are you referring to the "Internal Combustion Engine" or frozen water?

He needs to learn from Jobs (1)

melted (227442) | about a year ago | (#44784651)

Show it's when you're ready to sell it, or don't show it at all. This is no different from a "concept" mockups that fanboys post in tech forums, that couldn't possibly be manufactured because they ignore economics, usability and sometimes the laws of the nature.

Re:He needs to learn from Jobs (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about a year ago | (#44784777)

From what I've seen of Elon's work, he hasn't invented anything at all; just put multiple pieces of off the shelf technologies together. Now if Elon wants to add some spice to this bowl of chili, then maybe also bring in manufacturing by industrial 3d printers, and energy from renewable sources. I'd watch this roman circus on pay per view.

Boobies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784669)

I couldn't help grinning where he's manipulating the rocket engine model. Looks like he's grabbing some boobies :-)

Elon Musk vs DC and Marvel?! (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about a year ago | (#44784697)

Elon, these story tellers go to extreme lengths to invent characters that are impossible, mostly, to actually duplicate. Now You are going "Iron Man" on Them. These publishers covet their readers, and You are taking the food out of their mouths.

Repeat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784699)

Ignore the weeks and months of real engineering that happened behind the scenes, and the engineering and technical staff that did prototype runs first on large-scale industrial machines.

Definitely we can design rocket parts just from Hollywood-style GUIs and press "print" on your Makerbot.

This is what this story is really about. Geeks living a delusional fantasy-life.

Dreadful latency problems (3, Insightful)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about a year ago | (#44784715)

If you watch the video, it's easy to see why nobody demoed designing an actual part—the latency of a Leap Motion is just horrible. So bad that if you don't move your hands very very slowly, it will completely miss the motion.

We really really need a new generation of input devices. Not just to deal with things like the Oculus Rift, but because we're trying to do more things in less time. The mouse is great, but people forget that the only reason the mouse is so great is because it has what is effectively dedicated circuit paths right into the CPU and GPU, including GPU circuits created for the sole purpose of displaying its cursor. The first mice weren't nearly so responsive. Their designers eventually came to the conclusion that the system needed hardware support for a mouse pointer, with little or no software stack at all. In consequence, a mouse has 4 milliseconds of latency. Leap Motion (and everything else) has 250 times that latency. Nothing will compete with the mouse until it can match mouse latency, and that's not going to happen without more cooperation from the rest of the system.

Why do movies like Minority Report and Ironman look so good to us? Because the actor was filmed waving his hands around in empty space, then the computer displays were added in after the fact by special effect artists. And guess which frame the special effect artists painted the reaction in? The exact same frame the motion happened in. So it looks fantastic. Instantly responsive. Unless and until these interfaces actually are that responsive, they will get nowhere.

Re:Dreadful latency problems (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44787577)

The mouse is great, but people forget that the only reason the mouse is so great is because it has what is effectively dedicated circuit paths right into the CPU and GPU, including GPU circuits created for the sole purpose of displaying its cursor.

Your larger point is correct, but the details here are at least 10 years out of date. Mice connect via general-purpose busses such as bluetooth and usb, and today's GPUs provide hardware pointer acceleration the same way they do any other hardware-accelerated sprite work -- in software; it just happens the software runs on the GPU.

Re:Dreadful latency problems (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44788231)

Why do movies like Minority Report and Ironman look so good to us?

The minority report interface is actually a really good one for the specialized scenario he was using it, exploring 3D spaces. He wasn't designing or creating anything, it was like a touch screen on a tablet only better.

Re:Dreadful latency problems (1)

laxr5rs (2658895) | about a year ago | (#44788373)

Agreed. I have a Leapmotion. Bleck.

3D Models (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784773)

Using 3D models as the primary representation of a part has been done for years. The 777/787/A380 all use Model Based Definition. The part is modeled at nominal and any GDT or controlled dimenisions are put on the part in 3D. The assumption is that Manufacturing can pull what dimensions they need off the model. The US spec for this process is in the ASME Y14.x family.
The main problem with designing 3D in space like this is what are you going to hang it on. If I start with a new, empty model; how do I start placing elements?

Re:3D Models (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#44786093)

Kerbal space program may be more fun for you as a first step.

Please add this feature (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784905)

...help me pick up supermodels in 3D

Elon: Thank Hollywood buddy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784993)

SpaceX: StarTrek? Then again, NASA was there 1st.

Telsa: I dunno how many movies with electric cars in them.... Then again, hate to say it... GM anyone?

Hyperloop: Hollywood! Logan's Run....The Jetson's? Futurama? etc they had the idea for years

Now this: Hmm... Hollywood again: Minority Report, Iron Man, The Matrix.

He is not an idea man....say like our SciFi writers.... sure he's bright at solving problems, but anyone with a good head and access to cash will likely do similar.

Hologram? Yes and no, Also, exoskeleton please. (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#44785013)

While computer screen models and VR goggles can never be holograms, the projection onto glass he shows off is one step away:

Holography is a technique which enables three-dimensional images to be made. It involves the use of a laser, interference, diffraction, light intensity recording and suitable illumination of the recording. The image changes as the position and orientation of the viewing system changes in exactly the same way as if the object were still present, thus making the image appear three-dimensional. (from wikipedia)

So if changing your viewing perspective allowed you to see the object projected onto glass at different angles, this would be legit.

For a nice quick read on the subject, click me! [scienceclarified.com]

While none of these facts makes this work in its current state anything more than passively interesting in a practical sense, conceptually this has a lot going on and if future iterations arise, it may well be the engineering breakthrough he's touting. This is like alpha version 0.0.1 - As far as waving your hands and arms around all day, if in the future this can be made into a superior interface, perhaps a lightweight exoskeleton of the future could assist. We are already going cyborg so it's not unthinkable.

Re:Hologram? Yes and no, Also, exoskeleton please. (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#44785047)

I hate to reply to myself, but I should have also pointed out that while he made dramatized demonstrations of working with fully developed models those models still have to be created the old-fashioned way with tradition CAD\3d modeling software and I don't see how this could ever change that.

Re:Hologram? Yes and no, Also, exoskeleton please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44785881)

(posting AC so I don't undo mod points)

Calling it the 0.0.1 alpha is probably not too far out - it's akin to the computer mouse pre-Xerox STAR (and certainly pre-Lisa / Mac)

"they still have to be created the old-fashioned way" - back in 1982, the same kind of "GUI is OK, but it still needs to be created the old-fashioned way" was predominant.

So, to turn this into a "late beta" (let alone a 1.0.0 release) will need a combination of a 21st century PARC and someone who can see the potential and run with it like Jobs.

Google has the tech knowhow / R&D effort (as long as they don't keep shutting stuff down), but as for the Jobs (I'd even settle for Woz, as the tech guru) , I don't think Zuckerberg and his contemporaries are "it".

But, come 2042, we'll all be using something like this.

Re:Hologram? Yes and no, Also, exoskeleton please. (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#44786453)

"Computer, design a new engine with whatever particles we just discovered"... computers are not up to the task yet. Thank god for that, humanity needs to do something and be part of something greater. Letting computers do everything, not a great idea. Maybe good looking on an excel sheet, but devastating on the society.

Hilarious (1)

Latinhypercube (935707) | about a year ago | (#44785027)

I respected Elon a lot more BEFORE I saw this video. Anyone who is involved in the CG industry would laugh at this setup. It's obviously made to either entertain Elon so he thinks his team is 'cutting edge', or it's to wow the world like his Hypertube crock. Either way, I respect him less after watching.

Any child with an ipad can rotate and scale 3d objects with their fingers. Try actually building something beyond a cookie dough figure in it.

FUCK U! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44785041)

Who are you self proclaimed 3D design experts to criticize my concept/software/integration (which I wrote every COBALT(sic) line of code I have you know).

Have any of you lost billions of taxpayer's money in some hare brained electric car venture that most of the real automobile manufacturers have deemed to be non-viable technology?

Are you the laughing stock bottom feeder of the space launch community with a rocket that can lift just 10% of that of the competition?

I suggest you STFU until you can waste as much taxpayer funds as yours truly.

Elon Musk

oddly like skeuomorphism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44785343)

Seems to me that all this hand manipulation of 3d objects is much like skeuomorphism. By that I mean that we are integrating in an old way of manipulating objects (our hands) with a newer way to visual/modify an object. It really seems like our current manipulation tools (mouse etc.) are actually more efficient at this type of work and the only thing that this new invention would give us is some sort of familiarity and coolness factor, not efficiency. I'd rather have two mice; working with both hands... maybe 4. Could get my feet involved.

Re:oddly like skeuomorphism (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#44786577)

No no no, it is intended for CEO to visualize whatever their minions are creating. It gives them coolness factor and feel moe empowered. Nothing else.

Sorry Elon, you aren't Ironman (1)

johnthorensen (539527) | about a year ago | (#44786297)

What is with the Elon Musk/Ironman comparisons? Last article that I read about the guy, the reporter implied that the Ironman character was BASED on Musk (nevermind that Ironman has probably been around for longer). It almost makes one wonder if he is trying to encourage the comparison, especially with lame videos like the one from TFA. Maybe he's suffering from some grand delusion. Eh, at any rate it's good for an eyeroll or two.

Speakers (1)

skiflyer (716312) | about a year ago | (#44786719)

Any one else notice that even the billionaire can't figure out a decent place to put his computer speakers? They're jammed in behind his monitor just like mine. I don't know why, but that gave me a lot of enjoyment.

So? (1)

connor4312 (2608277) | about a year ago | (#44789123)

So he mapped a Leap Motion controller into NX and made it viewable on an Oculus Rift... or more accurately, the code monkeys who work for him did. I remain unimpressed.
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