Video Picks from Tom Dixon’s Virtual Milan Show

By Kate

I thought it was too late to talk about Virtual Milan and Tom Dixon again, but then I saw these videos and said . . .nah, you deserve to see them!

The first was produced by Australian Emma Elizabeth Designs.  Check out her interview with Tom, Fred and one of Tom’s artisan furniture makers.

Nice music huh?

The second is a fly through of Tom’s stand and his visitors’ interactions with the 3D experience.

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I may like this fashion music better. Nice drums.

Like I mentioned in my last Tom Dixon post, Tom creates all of his models in SolidWorks.  He mentioned in the Emma Elizabeth video that he’s cutting out the big producers and “just getting on with it” on his own.  A do-it-yourself guy!  Any correlation with designing his models in 3D I wonder?

Tom, are you out there?  We’d love your feedback if you get a chance.  In any case, bravo 3D Tom!


Touch To Visit Our History

By Michael


If you come to the entrance hall on Dassault Systèmes Campus in Vélizy, you’ll find a 65” screen which displays objects on a time axis.

Most people who wait there to be picked up for their appointment or those who simply spare a minute approach the screen and touch the surface – which reminds me a bit of the opening scene in Odysee 2001 of Stanly Kubrick, where the apes approach the black monolith.


Click to watch the video trailer

But back to the subject! I wondered what incites the visitors. Curiosity at first, but then they seem to look for a kind of communication feedback from the machine:  “When I touch this … what do I get?” … “Wow, it reacts to my fingers’ movements … to my whole hand”

By playing, navigating and discovering the objects on the screen it naturally becomes obvious that the installation represents a timeline with DS history from 1981 onwards, with important events and achievements all along the way until today.

This Timeline application hosts photos, videos, documents, sounds to be browsed and positioned along time marks, and to be played with in a very sensual way. It seems that by this immersive interaction the visitor gains interest and starts to develop a positive relationship with the content displayed.

Watch for yourself how this comes about:

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There is a whole science behind the psychology of motivating and reassuring users to work with technical systems. I was personally involved in a consulting activity to help application developers to optimize their work by improving what is called Software Ergonomics or Human-Computer-Interaction in a broader sense, i.e. the user experience when interacting with a computer system.

Traditionally this communication is achieved via input/output devices and screens. With recent technology advancement we can add immersive interaction possibilities while using fingers, hands and the whole body, and while at the same time getting sensorial feedback.  Taken to the extreme, the user becomes an actor – a part of the machine … just look at this previous post on 3D Perspectives for a high-end example of user/system/application-interaction.

The most important point from this is that user experience is the ultimate criteria to measure ergonomic quality.


The Timeline application has been built for us by the “touch agency” Tactineo using state-of-the-art touch screen technology from nextwindow with a special focus to optimize the user experience to comply with a “zero training” requirement, i.e. achieving something which is totally intuitive for visitors of all type. Therefore the application appears to be simple - which is the ultimate purpose.

However, achieving the highest level of ease-of-use is hard work for the application developers. Also, the perception of good user ergonomics requires top technical performance of hardware components and drivers, i.e. reaction times of the object to user manipulations needs to be immediate without any noticeable delay.

As soon as the user feels “in control” motivation kicks in to do more … to explore all of the content, play with objects … do something crazy (yet, no crash allowed in this scenario).

Ergonomics is so important for user acceptance and thus for the success of a technical application. And the user decision is immediate - concluded within the first manipulations.

Either “like it” or “hate it” … think about it.

Have a good week!


Giza 3D: 3 Questions for Harvard Professor Peter Der Manuelian

By Kate


I must confess I got excited when I learned about Dassault Systèmes’ partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  The entire Giza Archives in 3D for educational and research experiential/interactive discoveries!

Who would have thought that the Khufu Revealed project would lead to this!?

Curious as I am, and of course thinking about you dear readers, I contacted Peter Der Manuelian, the Giza Archives Project Director at MFA Boston, who is also a Philip J. King Professor of Egyptology at Harvard University. Here’s what I asked Peter:

  1. There’s a lot to be excited about with the digitization of the Giza Archives Project, but what gets you the most jazzed?
  2. Are there any unanswered questions about the Giza plateau that you hope the Giza 3D project will help answer? Can you give an example?
  3. 3. Which sector do you think will be most impacted by the project and why, research or education?

After you read the interview, check out the embedded 3DVIA Virtools flythrough video.  It’s a glimpse of the work-in-progress interactive application, showing certain tombs located at the Giza plateau.

peter1And now . . . Peter!

Q1:  There’s a lot to be excited about with the digitization of the Giza Archives Project, but what gets you the most jazzed?

PDM: Giza is a huge place, dug by many different expeditions over several decades. It’s impossible to get a coherent overview of so much archaeology! So the prospect of a fully immersive, real-time 3D model of the entire site would represent a huge breakthrough for us.

Imagine being able to go anywhere, above ground or below, to enter a decorated tomb chapel, or descend down a burial shaft to view a sarcophagus… The possibilities are limitless. And best of all is that, unlike your average video game, this Giza model is scientifically accurate.

Thanks to collaboration between the MFA and Dassault Systèmes, it is built upon real archaeological data: the old dig photos, drawings, plans, and notes of the original excavators. So that means we can virtually reconstruct original appearances, either in ancient times or during modern excavation times (our early 20th century).

The ceramics and statues will appear in their original locations from almost 5,000 years ago. The wall reliefs, paintings, and inscriptions—some now in museums around the world—will show up back on their original tombs walls, etc.

Q2:  Are there any unanswered questions about the Giza plateau that you hope the Giza 3D project will help answer? Can you give an example?

PDM: Since we can now restore walls, roofs, original colors, and put objects back in place, we can understand the original layout of Giza much better. What particularly interests me are the interrelationships between all the monuments. What was built first? What came later? How did the entire site develop? Answers to these questions help us date the monuments, and reconstruct Egyptian history.

And there are questions of engineering and organization. For example, all those burial shafts extending underground… how did the Egyptians decide where to put them, and how did they avoid crashing into neighboring shafts from earlier generations? Were there necropolis records or archives recording who built what, and where? How long did a tomb’s funerary cult remain in operation, before someone else came along to block access to it with a new tomb of his or her own?

Q3:  Which sector do you think will be most impacted by the project and why, research or education?

PDM: I would say that both scholarly research and general education will benefit immensely from the Giza 3D model. Scholars will be able to view the monuments in ways we never imagined, such as in different chronological layers, rather like peeling an onion. This allows for new research questions and new hypotheses.

And as a teaching tool, in the classroom or the museum, the Giza model works in real time. This means someone might ask a question about the Sphinx, and we can drive the model over to the Sphinx to study it in-depth. Or one might ask about the position of the mummy in the burial shaft, and we can dive down a shaft to view the original layout of the burial chamber.

Many thanks Peter for taking the time to answer my questions!

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Stay tuned for updates on the Giza 3D project.

What do you think so far?



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