Stretch a sketch and other benefits of digitizing

Sketching is usually the first phase of product development, but all those ideas and nowhere to put them? I wonder how many ideas have started on cover of cigarette packs or napkins and how many is lost due to lack of them. I hope that when our government finally ban all smoking in Finland, products like the boogie board or inkling have reached maturity. For all those ideas to be lost would be tragedy. Boogie board is a LCD screen that can be written on, only erasing the screen uses power. Inkling is a pen that records its movements as vector graphics. Both are inexpensive ways not to carry paper or notebook everywhere to ensure way to record sudden bursts of ideas. Both have their downsides, the pen is useless without paper and the boogie board doesn’t  have a save function yet. Still the potential is enormous. Think of simple mechanical sketch, if one could transfer the vector graphics images to cad software, there would be much less work left to do converting the paper image to proper cad file. For industrial designers, architects and artists this kind of tool is even more useful.

Capturing real world motions, shapes and forms into digital form is important topic in general. Also introducing virtual objects to real world is groving interest in academic and especially in commercial world. I’m hoping to trick one barchelors level student to do his/hers thesis on 3D digitizing. There has been many projects on different inexpensive ways to digitize 3D objects with cameras, touchprobes etc. The thesis could summ them all up and discuss the most promising techniques. The work could be extended to master’s level; measuring, design, machine tool setups… all could benefit from quick 3D measuring. One thrilling idea is using modelling clay to create 3D forms that are shown as 3D models in real time on computer screen. Movie studios have been using this kind of techniques for some time, but the costs have reduced wider exploitation. Costs are no longer the problem because one project used two basic web cameras to create 3D model.