Overcoming the collaboration gap
Technology has enabled entirely new concepts of design. Digital modelling allows designers to experiment and try new ideas faster than ever before, to move between two dimensional and three dimensional representations at will, to move between a godlike overview perspective and the immersive viewpoint of a human. All of these changes in process inherently change, arguably for the better, the end product of that process.
For the many benefits digital modeling tools have brought to us however, there are valuable pieces of the process that we have lost, and this has an effect on the end product as well.
Putting physical modeling onto a screen took it out of the perceptual context that the final form will live in. It also removed it from the critical context that should exist in a design firm, introducing a collaboration gap. A physical model could sit on a table and be viewed (and reviewed) by everyone; it’s much more difficult to critique an object while crowded around a screen, with view controlled by single person, much less try to design it collaboratively.
At Ankrom Moisan, to explore how these limitations could be addressed, we developed an application for mass modeling on the Microsoft HoloLens. The HoloLens projects digital holograms into the users field of view, and they appear very similar to real objects, bringing back much of the perception of a real physical model.
It’s still in the early stages with few features and some bugs. However, you can see from the video that it allows fast, reversible, and iterative modeling where scale is what you choose it to be; but in a real world context. Users can walk around, get in close, and modify together so that the collaboration gap can start to close.