As we told you earlier this year, Toronto-based Maide Inc. has taken on the challenge of designing a new method of control for people who use 3D CAD programs. Their first product, Maide Control, turns the iPad into a multi-touch input device for programs such as Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3D Studio Max, Solidworks, Google Sketchup, and Rhinoceros 3D, and allows for multiple iPads to connect to one computer simultaneously.
Maide Control, which is available for $4.99 on iTunes, works in conjunction with the free desktop Control connection and offers designers the following features:
- Pan, orbit, and zoom your 3D model for slick presentations
- Quickly snap to orthogonal views (top, left, right, front, back)
- Gesture based tool selection with our innovative radial menu
- Connect multiple iPads to the same model for collaborative viewing
- Quickly save screenshots of your models to your iPad for easy sharing
- Use your iPad screen as a trackpad to control your mouse cursor
- Use your iPad’s on-screen keyboard to type on your computer
- Standardizes basic controls across all supported 3D applications
- Quick auto-connect for frequently used connections
- Only authorized people can connect to your computer
- Connects to your computer via Wi-Fi or ad hoc network
There’s no complex software, and almost no learning curve. As long as your iPad and computer are on the same network, you’ll have full control. This unique app is a must-have for hobbyists and professionals alike. Users can download/update to the latest version, which should automatically grab the full feature and beta plug-ins.
Maide is looking for a community of early adopters to become a part of the project and work with them to develop a great product. The team’s latest project has been in improving the UI and new menu system for the iPad app. After the first iteration was done, they realized that they needed to move beyond the goal of getting rid of the mouse in the CAD process. Maide Inc. is on both Twitter and Facebook, and also has a support forum.
HCI research reports and white papers have helped the team at Maide explore the possibilities of splitting control of CAD software into a 2-handed (bi-manual) input method, making a 20% average increase modelling speed attainable.
“I like to think of the analogy of something simple, such as how you go about peeling an apple. You use one hand to orient the apple, and the other hand holds your tool for more precise actions,” stated Oleg Kostour, Maide Inc. CEO and co-founder on the company’s blog. “We bought a 3D Connexion SpaceExplorer and played with it for a while. It’s a great tool (a little expensive), but interesting none-the-less. With this in mind, we decided to further develop the left handed system, and allow users to replace the one finger mouse control in our app, with command selection. We’ll soon have a toggle that allows the app to be used on both the right and left handed setup on the desktop.”