Next Generation Product Development Tools – Not Part 23

Posted on Sunday 15 March 2009

Well, here it is, 2013. Kinda blew the schedule on this series.

There was a Part 23; published privately (note the date). And a Part 24 … and a Part 25.

Mixed in was also a piece intended for my Futurismic column, Future Imperfect. I thought I’d submitted it, but maybe not; I recall that one being a rush job.

They’re all now tucked away on my hard drive.

I may take a look at them; perhaps cull something worth posting.

Part 23 was ready to go, but now seems dated. The Future Imperfect piece was decent, but is probably past its expiration date. And Parts 24 and 25 were and still are a tangle of thoughts and links; too outdated and convoluted to extract something decent at this point.

So. What to do with this blog?

I’ve been giving that some thought. Can’t say I have that question answered, but I do have some ideas.

Now let’s see if I can find the time.

csven @ 9:43 pm
Filed under: cyberspace andmeatspace andtransreality
Next Generation Product Development Tools – Part 22

Posted on Thursday 5 March 2009

While “mere apprehension of using a 3D application is no longer an issue preventing them from attempting to learn” (reLink), there is still the issue of learning.

So, picking up from where I left off, at this stage one major issue would seem to be educating people in the use of next generation product development tools.

Then again, maybe it’s not as big a hurdle as one might expect.

Educating People on Product Development Processes and Tools

When most people use the word “educate” it’s still in the context of institutionalized education. Conventional wisdom suggests that in order to get an education one must sit attentively at a desk, pay close attention to a teacher, and take examinations testing whether one has sufficiently acquired the information. That’s the drill. However, used in its broadest sense, we’re all being educated every day and in every way.

In his book, The Design of Everyday Things, Donald Norman includes a chapter titled “Knowledge in the Head and in the World”. Institutionalized learning is largely what is meant by “in the Head”, as it involves developing rote skills and significant amounts of memorization. This is in contrast to the kind of learning a child receives, say, by poking a finger into a standard electrical outlet at home, which is knowledge acquired “in the World”.

I learned to type without looking at a keyboard by taking a class which forced me to memorize the locations of the keys. Those who’ve not gone through a similar educational process depend on the keys being labeled and deriving information to operate a keyboard from “the World”.

Like most things, there’s a fuzzy boundary between the two – the Head and the World – and I’d venture both “serious games” and not-so-serious games operate somewhere in that inherently undefinable zone.

webcarzz_ui

While going through some unread feeds I came across this entry on Virtual World News for what sounds like a not-so-serious game which undoubtedly has serious educational potential, “Webcarzz on Building Virtual Worlds for Boys” (Link). From the entry:

Users will be able to build their own cars, molding them from shapes into wholly unique creations that they can move into the play environment, promises Webcarzz. Once users are in the world, they’ll be able to work on the cars in their garages and customize them further. That offers opportunity for the shared creation and socialization of other virtual worlds

If you’re a product developer, chew on that for a few minutes.

Yes, Webcarzz is primitive. But what kind of computer modeling were you doing between 6 and 12 years of age? When I was 12, the very idea of a “personal computer” was outrageous and impractical. Even at 18, I knew no one who could conceive of a good reason anyone would ever need or want to own a personal computer. The early 1980′s seem so long ago, don’t they?

Assuming most of you reading this aren’t in Webcarzz’s target market, imagine what you might have learned had you grown up in a time where designing and assembling your own car was a mere videogame, and you put your design to the test by competing in a simulation with other players from around the world. Further imagine you could have your design assembled at the local toy store, which is what Ridemakerz is offering.

When I was a kid, you were blessed to have a Corgi and a “real dirt” sandbox. What children have available to them today is beyond what most educator’s could even dream just 10 or 15 years ago. Knowledge which was effectively limited to higher education is now increasingly free for the playing. This, to coin an over-used phrase, changes everything.

At some point in the not-too-distant future children will be modeling their own cars using a web-based application, playing with them in an online virtual world, sharing/selling components, and even sending their designs to rapid-manufacturing shops for fabrication. They may even be setting up their own 3D fabrication shopfronts ala Shapeways and marketing their own brands online, after which they’ll take their 3D printed toys outside to play in a “real dirt” sandbox (which could very well have sensors documenting/scanning their real constructions for later use).

Sound compelling?

-

Okay, let’s look at Second Life now (I can hear the groans of the macho CAD guys).

As I stated in my last entry, this series was inspired by seeing non-professional designers figuring out how to use embedded virtual tools to make virtual fashion accessories. To rephrase what I wrote above: imagine someone “modeling their own [fashions] using a web-based application, playing with them in an online virtual world, sharing/selling components, and even sending their designs to rapid-manufacturing shops for fabrication.”

Same sentence. Different thing. I could substitute “fashions” with appliances, tennis shoes, electronics or houses. Whatever. Because it’s not the product that matters, it’s the process. It’s not just the activity at issue, it’s the underlying education derived from the activity.

And all of this is already happening … has been happening … for some time in Second Life. More importantly, there is something else happening which isn’t especially obvious. I’ll touch on that next.

{Image Copyright © 2009 Webcarzz, Inc.}

csven @ 3:00 pm
Filed under: transreality
Next Generation Product Development Tools – Part 21

Posted on Wednesday 31 December 2008

The idea for this series originated over a year ago with something I witnessed in Second Life: a mother and daughter collaboratively designing virtual clothes with the help of an in-world, user-created tool. I was astounded simply because I knew them to be unsophisticated computer users.

The motivation to write this series came shortly after, and mostly from what I learned subsequent to writing “A Virtual World-Based PLM for the Fashion Industry” (reLink). How could I not dive into this topic after learning of IBM’s work with FIT and also seeing what Optitex was doing?
(more…)

csven @ 11:59 pm
Filed under: cyberspace andmeatspace andtransreality
Next Generation Product Development Tools – Part 20

Posted on Friday 31 October 2008

In my last entry I ended with this question: “At what point do non-monetary motivational factors – reputation and empowerment – overwhelm the barriers to entry for average people?” It’s an especially timely question because the interface barriers are dropping so rapidly.

Minority Report technology no longer seems like science fiction; in fact, YouTube is filling with it. And once-daunting 3D application tasks are routinely simplified into “I can do that” activities (e.g. ILoveSketch).

Consequently, it may not be long before increasingly sophisticated users reach the proverbial tipping point where mere apprehension of using a 3D application is no longer an issue preventing them from attempting to learn. And of course, when the barrier to entry lowers, so does the necessary motivation.
(more…)

csven @ 11:59 pm
Filed under: cyberspace andmeatspace andtransreality
Next Generation Product Development Tools, Part 19

Posted on Tuesday 30 September 2008

In Parts 1-6, I mostly covered hardware; starting off with an entry which showcased a low-cost augmented reality demonstration video as a pointer to the future, and then covering fabrication processes which included a video showing how electronically “captured” movements could be converted into tangible objects.
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csven @ 10:30 pm
Filed under: cyberspace andmeatspace andtransreality
Next Generation Product Development Tools, Part 18

Posted on Monday 18 August 2008

In my last entry I touched upon how the opportunity to improve one’s social reputation would encourage some people to learn 3D modeling; especially as new, task-specific interfaces such as Spore‘s “Creature Creator” make traditionally difficult applications easier for novices. Social reputation – especially within the framework of the videogame community or popular online social networking sites – is one non-monetary incentive for learning 3D CAD. Personal empowerment – particularly within one’s “real” world community – is another.
(more…)

csven @ 9:00 am
Filed under: cyberspace andmeatspace andtransreality
Next Generation Product Development Tools, Part 17

Posted on Monday 30 June 2008

In my previous post I made the assertion that besides monetary reward, everyday people would increasingly endeavor to acquire 3D modeling skills as a consequence of two non-monetary incentives: social reputation and personal empowerment. I’ll briefly touch on the first in this entry.
(more…)

csven @ 10:00 am
Filed under: cyberspace andmeatspace andtransreality
Next Generation Product Development Tools, Part 16

Posted on Tuesday 17 June 2008

In Parts 7 and 8, I applied a “Web 2.0″ filter to software in general, and then CAD in particular. With that filter in place, I’ve been primarily focusing on tools. At this point it’s time to pan the view and focus on people; especially the up-and-coming generations who will use and primarily benefit from these tools.

- (more…)

csven @ 4:00 am
Filed under: cyberspace andmeatspace andtransreality
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