LAKE WALES, Fla. — Manipulating objects in three-dimensional (3D) space just got easier, according to the Univerity of Montreal, which demonstrates its 3D cursor-based design system today at Siggraph 2015 (Aug. 9-13, Los Angeles).
Using a tablet, smartphone or even smartwatch, the 3D cursor translates back-and-forth motions in two-dimensional (2D) space while up-and-down motions add the 3D motion to the cursor creating a control plane. Running today on tablets attach to the Hyve-3D simulator from Hybridlab, the 3D cursor-based design software will eventually also run on smartphone- and even smartwatch-touchscreens, according to professor Tomás Dorta, of the university’s School of Design.
"The techniques we’re unveiling today involve using a tablet to control the cursor, but as it does not necessarily rely on external tracking of the user’s movements, eventually other devices could be used, such as smart phones or watches," Dorta told EE Times.
Hyve-3D, which stands for Hybrid Virtual Environment in 3D also allows users to design complete virtual realities with the 3D cursor being used for both drawing and as a control plane, using six degrees-of-freedom (6-DOF) when used with multi-touch handheld tablets. Rendering of designed scenes includes a complete array of texture and lighting effects on the 3D geometric shapes. Multiple users can simultaneously sketch, select, edit and manipulate the design viewed on a shared window as well as on personal windows where each user only sees the segment of the entire scene on which they are presently working, thus creating a collaborative virtual working environment.
"Hybridlab Inc. is the startup behind the commercialisation of the Hyve-3D. Hybridlab is officially called the design research laboratory, Hybridlab--my research unit affiliated to the Design School, of the University of Montreal," Dorta told EE Times.
The tablet essentially becomes a "control plane," according to Dorta, allowing the user to select objects in 3D space by sweeping the cursor across them, then manipulating them in 3D space using back-and-forth, up-and-down, pinching and other gestures.
The concept can work in 3D immersive spaces, such as Hyve-3D on display at Siggraph, or on a normal 2-D screen where objects merely get smaller when placed or moved further back "into" a scene. The immersive images from Hyve-3D are created by projecting onto a 16-foot (five meter) spherically concave fabric screen onto which images are reflected off a dome mirror.
University of Montreal (Canada) in cooperation with Hybridlab Inc. (Toronto) demonstrate their 3D cursor shown at Siggraph 2015 (Aug. 9-13, Los Angeles).
The 3D cursor control-plane and design system is currently being commercialized by University of Montreal's Univalor unit, and is being supported by the spin-off startup Hybridlab Inc. (Montreal). The software/hardware 3D design environment is expected to be marketed to archtectural designers, medical imaging groups and computer gamers.
Tablet controls 3-D cursor in immersive virtual reality (VR) with back-and-forth movements controlling 2-D position and up-and-down controlling depth in 3-D.
Click on the image above to view a slideshow of Hyve-3D.