Augmented reality tablet enables designers to sketch in 3D

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GravitySketch tablet helps to simplify digital design.

The unique mobile device allows users to design and draw in 3D on a tablet equipped with an embedded Arduino chip, a pair of augmented reality glasses and an infrared stylus, allowing them to create their sketches in a digital format without having to transfer a design drawn on paper to a computer.

Users of the tablet can edit, rotate and expand what they create with the stylus while wearing the AR glasses.

Users of GravitySketch make a drawing with an infrared stylus on a gridded perspex pad. The chip and Unity software within the tablet track the stylus and switch the sketches into a three dimensional format. The image that results is sent to Laster AR glasses, which show the design as a 3D object. One or more users can then manipulate or alter the image.

GravitySketch first started in October 2013. It was invented by Pierre Paslier, Guillaume Couche, Oluwaseyi Sosanya, and Daniela Paredes Fuentes, four of London’s College of Art students. The students were inspired to create the digital pad after they surveyed several creators and discovered that for a great number of these individuals, a pencil and a pad of paper is often the simple tools that are used during the initial creative process. It is not until the creator reaches the point of attempting to convert their original vision into a final product that they use a computer.

It is the hope of the team behind the augmented reality tablet that they will be able to bring the two creative processes together, which would lower the barrier that exists between the initial vision and the practical outcome.

The augmented reality device is likely to benefit more than just designers.

It is very likely that 3D interfaces, like that GravitySketch will be found highly useful for various purposes. For instance, it could be utilized by surgeons, who could upload the image of a ligament or bone, and give the surgeons the ability to draw necessary surgical fixtures directly on the image. On the other hand, it could be used in industrial settings for collecting and utilizing data hands-free or even in augmented reality gaming, among other applications.

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