In the 90′s virtual reality was the next “big thing” in the technology world but it fizzled out in the popular consciousness, but it could be given a new lease of life when combined with 3D printing. The Leonar3do virtual reality sculptor uses VR glasses and a stylus, called “the bird”, and lets the user’s artistic talent run riot to create sculptures that can be sent to a 3D printer.
Creating 3D objects using CAD modeling software can be very tricky and there’s is a steep learning curve associated with the process. This can put people off using their 3D printers and restrict them to printing models that other people have created from services such as Shapeways. Tools like the Leonar3do make creating 3D objects a breeze and may increase the takeup of 3D printers, particularly with artists or for education.
The Leonar3do consists of “the Bird” stylus, a pair of 3D glasses and a set of line sensors which mount to your 3D monitor. Although the systems isn’t strictly a Virtual Reality system it is able to provide a similar effect using 3D HD TV’s which people may already own. The line sensors will track the user’s head movements and also the Bird stylus so that the software can update the display with the correct 3D effect.
The Bird features a pair of buttons which control the draw and erase functions, as well as the viewing angle. Additional artistic controls, such as brush shape and size, are selected through the keyboard.
When the user is happy with their creation they can save it in several 3D printer optimized file formats so it can be recreated in the real world. The Leonar3do was first shown at the CES in January and since then has had a price reduction, it’s now available for $500 for the bird & sensors and $500 for the 3D software.