Almost all tech and IT media claim that virtual reality is THE next big thing. With Facebook buying Oculus Rift and Microsoft presenting its HoloLens holographic computing platform, we will probably all use it extensively in next five to ten years. You put your VR device on your head and you see fully digital augmented reality and 3D objects floating or interacting with real surfaces in your surrounding. So what about virtual reality 3D modeling? VRCLAY might be the answer.
Virtual Reality 3D Modeling
VRCLAY’s features look amazing and futuristic. Like the name says it is a Virtual Reality Clay which you can see floating in front of you with Oculus Rift head-on display and which you can sculpt with your hands using Razer Hydra (aka. Sixense TrueMotion) game controler.
What is VRCLAY?
VRCLAY is a software which utilizes the Oculus Rift VR headset and Razer Hydra 6-DOF controllers to deliver a unique sculpting experience. It features basic sculpting tools for pushing, pulling, smoothing and flattening the surface. Together with the ability to grab and move the model freely in space, it allows you to sculpt in a very relaxed and intuitive fashion. Thanks to the stereoscopic vision provided by the Oculus Rift, you are able feel the depth and scale of your model like if it actually was right in front of you.
How does VRCLAY work and can I run it?
VRCLAY was written in C++ from scratch, with focus on performance. It employs a custom geometry engine for the dynamic surface meshing. Currently, the only way to use VRCLAY is with the Razer Hydra controllers, although we plan to add support for other input devices in the future. VRCLAY only works on Windows at this time.
Export and 3D Printing
Sculpted objects can be saved in the OBJ format which is widely used and supported by many 3D applications. It can also be converted to other formats easily. Most 3D printing software can import OBJ files directly, so you can print VRCLAY models straight away.
Here you can see VRCLAY in action, video shows the object designed from camera perspective using QR code fields for orientation, while the operator sees it in front of him:
For more information and download of VRClay BETA visit: http://vrclay.com/
As I am currently also trying to learn simple CAD operations I can tell you that it is not as easy as I thought. There is something unnatural in using 2D screen and a mouse to make a 3D object. I can see that a true depth perception 3D view with ability to manipulate it with your hands looks much more natural and intuitive. With few more lines of code you could easily move a virtual object made in VRCLAY with a swipe of a hand to your 3D printer and get a solid real object. Like Arthur C. Clarke said: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”