How close is the future of surface computing for CAD/PLM?

I think everybody likes cool presentations … especially when they are about surface computing. So, coincidentally, I had the chance to see a few references and demos of surface computing in the context of our industry.  I think that these fascinating shows may inspire you to think further about how we can use surface computing.

First of all, in his visionary keynote technology presentation at SolidWorks World 2009 last week in Orlando, John Hirschtick, mentioned surface computing as a very important development for the  future. An example of a surface table from Microsoft was demoed in the exhibition pavilion and everyone who was interested was able to touch and move the CAD pieces by themselves, using their hands.  Thanks guys from SolidWorks APAC blog for videos!



Another futuristic example is the usage of surface tables for enterprise searches, demoed at the FASTForward Microsoft Event. Microsoft announced the integration of the FAST product line into the next version of Microsoft SharePoint. FAST, Norwegian company was acquired by Microsoft last year.

And, just to finish with something more practical – an example of how touch screens can be used with the existing Dassault Systemes 3DLive product demoed on DS PLM Day in Israel last year.

I hope you enjoyed watching these examples. I have to say that Enterprise Search was very inspiring and shows a lot of imagination about how our communication with design products could look in the future.



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  • Jos Voskuil

    Nice, would be also very useful in the power & plant industry to drill down in a process P&ID or real 3D

  • Jos, you are right… also you can connect it to SCADA tools and be able to monitor real processes too. Regards – Oleg

  • Surface and multi-touch are looking really interesting, but as I think someone commented on twitter, that it makes much more sense from a collaborative sense, where you gather around that ‘device’ than the 16 hour day working Catia/SolidWorks/Inventor et al.

    But I would love to be proved wrong (and probably will be).

    Al Dean

  • Al, Thanks for your comment. The last video from Israeli PLM day was about to demo (or how you call “collaborative work sense) and discuss with people standing near touch device. But I have feeling this is all depends on applications support, precision of user experience and… in the end on device cost. – best, Oleg

  • Tom

    Hi Oleg,

    Another interesting device is the force feedback stylus from Sensable, I first saw it 7 or 8 years ago at a conference. It amazing to move the cursor across a grooved surface and feel the stylus bump along.

    Best Regards


  • Hi Tom, thanks for the link. Indeed haptic devices are interesting and I expect this field to grow. Actually you can see my post on PLM and Gaming.


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