Late last week SOLIDWORKS quietly slipped out their latest release of eDrawings for iOS. (5.0.0) It covered the usual Bug Fixes and updated support for SOLIDWORKS 2017. Perhaps of more interest is it added a Virtual Reality Mode.
It was early this year at SOLIDWORKS World 2016 that the Mobile products team had a prototype version of eDrawings with Virtual Reality Mode that utilised the Google Cardboard system. Dan Herzberg at the time had some early insights into the prototype version of eDrawings-Google Cardboard which can be read here .
VR Mode has added a new “Cardboard” icon just above the Augmented Reality icon located on the left side Toolbar. I just had a quick look for this post I did when AR was first introduced in eDrawings (3.0.1) iOS! I was slightly surprised when I discovered that it has been three years since Augmented Reality was added to eDrawings!
Selecting the VR Icon splits the screen and displays two models. At this stage you start to get an indication on how the system works. The slightest movement of the iPhone and the images will rotate. You still have normal functionality of touch gestures, single finger rotate, pinch to zoom and two fingers to pan
To get the “Virtual Reality” effect you need a Google Cardboard headset. There are numerous supplies of Cardboard headsets online. All are low cost (ranging from$12 to $20) with some requiring more assembly than others. I just happen to have a G.Cardboard 2.0
Information from the Google Cardboard Wikipedia page provide a simple explanation of how it is designed to work.
Cardboard viewer are a piece of cardboard cut into a precise shape, 45 mm focal length lenses, magnets or capacitive tape, and an optional near field communication (NFC) tag Cardboard–compatible app splits the smartphone display image into two, one for each eye, while also applying barrel distortion to each image to counter pincushion distortion from the lenses. The result is a stereoscopic (“3D”) image with a wide field of view.
I’m not sure you can really call the result stereoscopic, because you already have a 3Dimensional model? It’s also not the “projected” image you see at 3D movies. But it does add a perception of depth to the image. The below images don’t give a true indication of the effect that you see. (it’s also a little tricky to photograph) You also lose image quality compared to the quality display of the phone screen. Which is to be expect when you are looking though low quality, cheap plastic lenses!
I’m not sure of it’s real use with eDrawings. Certainly there is an entertainment value along with the novelty of being able to view the model 360º by simply moving your head around. Although I would advise some caution if using in conjuration with a swivel office chair and doing full 360º rotation! It can bring on a little motion sickness! (for some!)
Whilst you are not going to get the benefits as you would by immersing yourself into the 3D model. As you do with aVirtual Reality “caves” like Dassault Systemes SOLDWORKS own room.
Nor is the experience anything like the interaction you have with a system like zSpace
No word at this stage on Virtual Reality in eDrawing for Android! Maybe SOLIDWORKS is holding out for Google Daydream?