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Industrial Electronics

Software Links Virtual Design with 3D Printing

10 May 2017

MakeVR software for HTC’s VIVE virtual reality system bills itself as a content creation system that enables users to design objects in a VR environment and then create them with a 3D printer. The software, which is aimed at the maker/DIY market, could also gain traction with professional users.

The VIVE system, which HTC introduced in 2016, provides an intuitive experience, including allowing the user Image capture from MakeVR software. Credit: VIVEPort/Sixense EntertainmentImage capture from MakeVR software. Credit: VIVEPort/Sixense Entertainmentto move around within the experience. MakeVR expands the usefulness of these features for 3D designers and, according to the MakeVR website, “democratizes content creation through its extremely low learning curve … you use your own two hands as they were meant to be used.”

Combining MakeVR with a professional-quality CAD engine—based on the 3D modeling kernel by Spatial Corporation—is the real breakthrough for both the DIY community and professional designers. Using the system’s two controllers, the user can push, pull and stretch objects into virtual solid objects. When the design is complete, the software produces a file that a 3D printer can use to create a real object.

The combination of an intuitive VR interface with CAD software is appealing to organizations like NASA, which is using VR as a training tool for International Space Station astronauts. BMW has adopted the VIVE headset to use for visualization and design.

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