There’s a new WebGL-based technology being developed by Autodesk and it’s completely awesome. And you can request access to it today.
Project Play has been in development for some time. It has some shared lineage with the Smithsonian X 3D Explorer – although I’m not sure to what extent, if any, they share code – and it’s the viewing technology used by millions (?) around the world to explore the ReCapped Apollo 11 Command Module.
But this technology is about way more than just viewing static models. It’s a full node-based editor that allows you to create rich 3D experiences without the need for any code.
Let’s take a look at a couple of sample projects. The first is a classic interactive configurator for a radio:
You can click buttons, change colours and place an engraving. All before hitting the “Buy Now” button.
The second is a tool that allows you to compare 3D meshes of archaic human skulls:
You can merge the two meshes, having chosen contrasting colours for each, to understand the difference between archaic humans from different eras.
To get a sense for how these projects are built, here are screenshots of the projects for each. First the radio project:
This is pretty complex… I wasn’t able to get the full graph displayed in the bottom-right pane, but you can get some sense of what’s involved.
The skull merging project is also complex, as you might expect:
Yeah… check out that graph! The good news is that it seems there’s significant scope for creating largescale, highly complex projects, at least. :-)
I haven’t spent much time, as yet, to understand Project Play’s full capabilities. I did see that there are HTTP and JSON nodes that allow you to connect in web-based APIs (hmm – time to create an IoT-enabled project, perhaps?) and that there was some mention of the use of VR to visualize the eventual output. I’m really interested in finding out more about both these areas, in particular.
You can expect some more exploration of Project Play via this blog over the coming weeks/months: this is really interesting technology that can be applied to all kinds of problems. Be sure to have a Play yourself, in the meantime!