What if there was an affordable magic wand that can waved over an object or person to instantly create a perfect 3D model? While this wand does not yet exist, 3D scanning technology has evolved significantly since its introduction back in the 1960s. Faster processors, cheaper data storage, more advanced hardware and software, and artificial intelligence are all combining to empower the seamless transition from physical to digital.
In our last blog entitled “Virtual Reality is the Future of Design”, we discussed the challenges of using CAD and modeling software and the opportunity to use virtual reality (VR) to both create and edit 3D models in room sized spaces. While this technology may sound like something from classic movies like “The Lawnmower Man” or “The Matrix”, it is very real and already being used by industry giants like Ford, Nike, and BAE Systems.
When computer aided design or CAD was first introduced back in 1957, it was a revolutionary replacement for a 2D drawing board. Research in the 1970s shifted from 2D to 3D and its findings gave rise to the introduction of AutoCAD in 1983, which was the first significant CAD program for the IBM PC. This was also a revolutionary step as the AutoCAD developers were able to offer the majority of functionalities offered by other developers at a fraction of the price. The global CAD market exploded from there to reach a forecasted $7.5 billion this year and $11.21 billion by 2023, while 3D modeling is expected to grow from $1.3 billion to $7 billion by 2023.
The world famous futurist, Ray Kurzweil, wrote back in 2001 that “We won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century – it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate).” This is indeed what we are witnessing as technology now evolves exponentially rather than linearly. The World Economic Forum published a compelling article about this phenomenon last year entitled “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means, how to respond.” It characterizes the Fourth Industrial Revolution as a “fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.” Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are two of the leading, emerging technologies that are now driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0).
The World Economic Forum identifies the following three main reasons why this revolution is happening: velocity, scope, and systems impact.