SOLIDWORKS and Meta Partner to Bring 3D CAD in AR
Andrew Wheeler posted on February 06, 2018 |

SOLIDWORKS World is in full swing in Los Angeles, and news broke earlier today about a new opportunity for SOLIDWORKS users who are interested in visualizing their 3D models in Augmented Reality. Suchit Jain, vice president of strategy and business development for SOLIDWORKS, demoed SOLIDWORKS in AR for the first time on a Meta 2 Development Kit headset during a keynote session at the event. The Meta 2 is making strong alliances lately, including an industry-first partnership with Dell.

How It Works

Jain showed how SOLIDWORKS users can utilize a feature called
Jain showed how SOLIDWORKS users can utilize a feature called "Publish to Xtended Reality", that allows users to export a CAD model of theirs to an altered open-source file format called "gITF". After the SOLIDWORKS model is exported to gITF, users can see it through Meta's Model Viewer platform on the Meta 2 Development Kit headset (Image courtesy of SOLIDWORKS.)

There can be some degradation of 3D models when they are exported or changed from their original file format, sometimes certain metadata is lost, sometimes polygon counts are reduced, and so on.

In this case, a users exported SOLIDWORKS file keeps key data attributes like display states (these define different combinations of display settings for each component), materials, animations, colors, and its 3D model hierarchy.

Why is the Meta-SOLIDWORKS integration beneficial?

If you are interested in using the Meta AR headset for visualization, digital prototyping or training, this feature for SOLIDWORKS allows you to just use it, instead of seeking out a developer to create a solution. Anyone in your organization can use it as an immersive experience, from salespeople to inter-organization training, presentations and collaborations.

Viewing or presenting 3D CAD models can help with product development workflows, reduce time-to-market, reduce cost by eliminating the need for physical prototypes, and speed up design review cycles.

The AR integration between SOLIDWORKS means of course, that you're interested in using the Meta 2 headset, which may not be the case. The cost-savings of using AR headsets like Meta are still speculative, but the case is easy enough to make for those individuals and companies who are willing to spend the time and money need to upgrade to AR. 

The Meta 2 does have 90-degree Field-of-View (FoV) and direct hand interaction. Perhaps product design is going three-dimensional, but the jury is still out on AR as it applies to design and engineering. 

SOLIDWORKS seems to think the Meta 2 is ready to transform CAD modeling, but I wonder if this notion is shared by the majority of SOLIDWORKS users at this point and time. 

How to Sign Up:

Access to the beta program is by invitation only. If you're curious, you can sign up here.


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