Noah J Nelson on Friday, May. 23rd
As we get deeper into the voxelpunk era it feels like we are seeing a new 3-D user interface every other week. Or day for that matter. The last one that turned my head was Metaio’s thermal touch augmented reality interface, which we posted about yesterday. Today it’s a 3-D drawing system called Gravity Sketch that uses a transparent grid tablet and pen linked to AR glasses to create 3-D objects from 2-D drawings.
Current 3-D drawing systems, including the holographic zSpace or this 3-D-printer pen, ask you to be part sculptor, part surgeon as you draw wisps in boundless midair. It’s a weird concept to get accustomed to.
Gravity Sketch takes a different approach. It only lets you draw on the flat plain of the tablet itself. But you work with your design in 3-D as you draw–and the program give you a set of rules by which to manipulate your design. “By providing a simple set of rules, people quickly learn the limitations of the tool and work their way around them,” the team explains. “Through experiments, we found that people could build their ideas out in a three-dimensional space while playing to their natural instincts and the ease of drawing in two dimensions.”
Fast Company wasn’t able to get their hands on the device, but the idea itself is intriguing. It strikes me as a more “natural” way to design in a 3-D environment. Each of these interface breakthroughs expand the field of what is possible for AR and VR systems, and as we get closer to the commercial release of that technology generation the need for intuitive UI becomes more apparent. These demos leave me thinking that the UI will get there in time.