University of Cambridge
- Project carried out in an average time of 50 hours
- Voted as the best solution from a total of 11 applications which were developed as part of the group project work and won a small cash prize donated by IBM
- With their successful foray into touch-screen programming, the Cambridge University team put themselves on the threshold of 3D CAD’s future, according to SolidWorks founder Jon Hirschtick
The University of Cambridge celebrates its eight-hundredth anniversary in 2009 and is looking to the future. Its mission is to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence. The University of Cambridge's reputation for excellence is known internationally and reflects the scholastic achievements of its academics and students, as well as the world-class original research carried out by its staff. As a group project, a team of 5 students had in mind the development of an innovative touch-screen design application, which is considered to be one of the next big developments in CAD, along with 3D printing, Internet applications, and use of game-like graphics.
The five-student team turned a list of requirements from DS SolidWorks European Research Director, Mick Kellman, into an application that runs on the Diamond Touch table, which is a touch-screen hardware platform for multiple-user applications. Kellman challenged the students to create a 3D design system that enabled a group to simultaneously construct a complex model from Lego blocks. The resulting design had to be compatible with other Lego design and viewing tools that use the .LXF scene file format. The application, nicknamed “Brickbox”, could have only the Diamond Touch interface – no keyboard or mouse – had to accommodate four concurrent users, and had to include features such as view rotation and assembly.The exercise aims to emphasize innovation, teamwork, schedule management, collaboration, and meeting professional standards. In addition to providing the product brief, Kellman offered his team guidance on how to work in a professional software development environment, which is the project’s main goal. The application development work is a component in Cambridge University Computer Laboratory’s program to prepare students for the professional world. Student teams worked on the project over six weeks between January and March 2009, committing to spend between 5 and 10 hours per week on it. Technology professionals volunteer to act as clients who want applications that, for example, enable users to find their way around a large building using a mobile phone, or try on clothing using a “video wall” that superimposes images on their bodies.