Next Generation Product Development Tools – Part 21

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?

Add to these things the buzz surrounding Double Happiness jeans manufacturing and it made sense to try to make sense of what was happening. After all, what I was seeing was my “Smiley Face Savvy” entry (reLink) in the early stages of being realized.

The Future of CAD is Immersive Simulation

One of the other things that popped up on my radar around that time was a Design News podcast titled “Virtual Reality: The New Weapon In Product Design”. Give it a listen and then take a look at the most recent virtual freeCAD application video:

No, Cobalt on a computer monitor isn’t a virtual reality system of the sort mentioned in the podcast (at any mentioned pricepoint). And as far as CAD goes, freeCAD isn’t even close to being the equivalent of Pro/ENGINEER or SolidWorks, let alone some of the simpler CAD systems floating around on the Net.

But it’s a start.

And while freeCAD isn’t something I can use professionally at this stage of its development, in eight or ten years I may very well be using it – or something spawned from it or influenced by it – to design products collaboratively with (overseas) clients. When that happens, it’ll sure beat sending CAD files asynchronously via email, which is what some companies are still doing.

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