ANAHEIM, CA (SIGGRAPH 2013) July 24, 2013 - In the weeks prior to SIGGRAPH, we were inundated with invites to visit exhibitors, both on the show floor and off. One of them was from a small new company we were glad to have visited. Leonar3Do from Budapest makes infrared tracking hardware and 3D sculpting software. They were anxious to show us the software; we were anxious to try out the hardware.
Briefly, then, about the software, Leopoly. It is a lot like other polygonal modelers, think Mudbox from Autodesk. The twist here is that Leonardo made it social: when someone downloads a copy of what you modeled, the original is the parent while the modified copy is a child. A facility for 3D printing is built-in (complete with pricing), so that we can model a coffee cup and then have 3D-printed in a choice of colors.
Now onto the hardware. Go Bird consists of two parts: (1) polarizing glasses so that we can see models in 3D -- and it doesn't have to be Leopoly; it works with AutoCAD, apparently; and (2) a bird-like 3D "mouse" for editing the 3D model and selecting commands from the screen. (A third component are the two infrared cameras that monitor the position of the glasses and the bird.)
The bird is held like an airbrush; it has two buttons: the small one selects commands from the on-screen interface, while the large one interacts with the model. As we moved the bird close to the 3D model, we could feel it vibrate as it made contact with the bulges of the 3D model -- which we saw standing out from the monitor's flat screen. Moving our head rotated the model, for the glasses also connect to the infrared sensors.
Right now, the bird is attached with a wire, but Leonardo is working on a wireless version. (We noticed that the bird was 3D printed.) The hardware-software bundle is $2000; the hardware alone is $495. Buy the tethered version now, and get the wireless one free when it ships.
At $500, this bit of hardware blows away the pricing of older competitors.