Elon Musk Reveals Gesture-Controlled CAD Software and 3D-Printed Rocket Parts
In this newly released video, Tesla Motors co-founder Elon Musk demonstrates how advanced gesture-based CAD technology is being adopted to design rockets at SpaceX – the entrepreneur’s space transportation company that currently has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to provide unmanned cargo deliveries to the International Space Station.
“I believe we’re on the verge of a major breakthrough in design and manufacturing,” Musk states in the video, “in being able to take the concept of something from your mind, and translate that into a 3D object really intuitively on the computer.”
Using hand gesturing tools developed by Leap Motion, Musk is seen grabbing, rotating and zooming in on a wireframe model of SpaceX’s Merlin rocket engine on a computer screen. He then reveals how the full CAD model of the rocket engine can be controlled and wielded on a larger-sized display screen — and in 3D if the user opts to don an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.
Musk further demonstrates how he is able to manipulate the rocket model on a freestanding plane of glass, much like the technology featured in the popular “Iron Man” superhero action films.
The digital rocket-component design is finally printed out through the use of a 3D laser metal printer.