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article imageVideo: SpaceX's Elon Musk waves his hands to design rocket parts

By Anne Sewell     Sep 7, 2013 in Technology
Last week Elon Musk of SpaceX tweeted that he had invented a way to create rocket parts, with hand gestures and a laser printer, virtually out of thin air. He has now posted a video to show how - almost like it is in your favorite sci-fi movies.
Musk explains in the video:
"Right now we interact with computers in a very unnatural, 2D way."
"And we try to create these 3D objects using a variety of 2D tools. And it just doesn't feel natural - it doesn't feel normal, the way you should do things."
He then goes on to demonstrate how he combines a string of amazing technologies — the Oculus Rift, Leap Motion 3D controllers, holograms - to invent a way to engineer a rocket engine without actually touching it. He says the system is "going to revolutionize design and manufacturing in the 21st century."
Musk starts out with a demonstration using gesture control to zoom, rotate, and interact with a complicated CAD model of a rocket engine on a computer.
Next, we see the model freed from the screen, and projected in 3D in the air.
From then on, SpaceX designers use hand movements to spin, move, and interact with the hologram floating in front of them - almost a real-world manifestation of the futuristic interfaces we have seen in movies like "Iron Man" and "Minority Report."
Musk explains that this way, engineers can see all sides of the part they are designing, instead of simply a two-dimensional model on a computer screen.
We then get to see Musk as he goes fully into immersive virtual reality with the Oculus Rift.
Now, as he explains, engineers can tinker with a model of the object, imagined and designed in three dimensions, that feels like it's real and right there in front of them.
Finally, using a 3D laser printer that prints in metal, they can take this model out of virtual reality and print it in real-life.
Science fiction is once again becoming science fact. It's no wonder that Musk was Iron Man director Jon Favreau's inspiration for his depiction of the superhero.
Elon Musk of SpaceX combines a string of amazing technologies - the Oculus Rift  Leap Motion 3D cont...
Elon Musk of SpaceX combines a string of amazing technologies - the Oculus Rift, Leap Motion 3D controllers, holograms - to invent a way to engineer a rocket engine without actually touching it.
YouTube
image:156567:0::0
Elon Musk of SpaceX combines a string of amazing technologies - the Oculus Rift  Leap Motion 3D cont...
Elon Musk of SpaceX combines a string of amazing technologies - the Oculus Rift, Leap Motion 3D controllers, holograms - to invent a way to engineer a rocket engine without actually touching it.
YouTube
image:156568:0::0
More about Spacex, elon musk, 3d design, Rocket, Parts
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