In the near future, it may take only several years, we will combine our digital content with the real world in an intuitive way that will include all our senses and the concept of reality will evolve. I will try to explain the different aspects and use cases in a series of blogs.
According to Wikipedia, Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of computer systems to aid in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a design.
This is great, there are an infinite number of engineers, architects, product designers animators that are using CAD every day, it is truly one of the greatest upgrades compared to the time CAD did not exist.
Actually, we can also thank computers for photo editing, video editing, and many other digital creation tools that upgraded our lives, business, and art. But we are still on the verge of the biggest evolution yet.
We as humans got used to sitting on an office chair and gazing into this square source of light and pixels while trying to understand how 3D objects look inside a flat 2D canvas on a flat 2D monitor, TV or mobile screens.
we are slowly forgetting the physical world, we are slowly leaving the green fields where Isaac Newton was thinking, we are slowly leaving the physical world where Leonardo da Vinci touched his own devices.
This is not what mankind should evolve too, this is not how we can achieve and get the best of our abilities, and this is not the best way to design, build and examine the world.
I believe that the real world with the advantages of the digital worlds is going to become one…. Sooner than we all think and when they will, this is going to be affecting everything, optimistically in a good way.
Back to CAD
I met some engineers who design a great electric bike. The design was made in front of a computer, so when they need to measure the height of the seat compared to the steering wheel they marked a line on the room’s wall and used their body to compare the height.
What if they could feel like sitting on a real bike, but see a hologram of the bike's body and steering wheel, look around, feel the height, adjust it as needed and do it all in a real 3D environment of their lab, room or office?
True, they can do it in front of the computer, they may be able to detect and solve the problem but nothing compares to the real thing, natural movement, natural engagement in real size, in the real world.
I believe any designer or engineer would give anything to do the same tests, examine the same issues and fix what is needed on a real size prototype, intuitively by touching, moving parts, rotating or pulling with his own hands. If a physical prototype doesn't exist yet, holograms or AR can do the work.
The technology exists, they can do it right now, and still, it is not everywhere, why?
First, the technology is still evolving, relatively heavy headsets are not the optimal way to work with for hours. In the next 2 years we will see lighter, more efficient AR or MR glasses, in 5 years it will be everywhere, the same sunglasses and contact lenses we use for improving our eyesight will enable digital content too.
(when we choose too of course)
Now, any engineer can create AR/VR
The real reason designers and engineers don't create AR/VR content is because they lack the technical knowledge to program their 3D CAD designs into AR or VR.
Only when anyone will be able to create content for this new medium, easily and with the tools, they know to use there will be enough content, enough users, and the world will start to adopt those technologies.
AR/VR in all production steps
By using AR/VR a designer or engineer can test and experience his product he made in CAD before he sends it to expensive prototyping or 3D printing.
3D printers companies understand this pain of prototyping and start to recommend the use of AR/VR to examine the 3D designs before printing.
An engineer can now test his design on top of an existing object by using AR and placing it digitally on it or use 3D scanners to combine the new CAD design with it.
Marketing the prototype or presenting it to investors or clients can be done much more effectively by upgrading the physical prototype with AR content, bringing static shapes to life, using VR for better understanding the impact and results.
I will share another blog about the different use cases of CAD, AR, VR in different industries.