Did you notice how assembly instructions are often more like brain teasers than real user’s manuals? Often coming in leaflets illustrated with 2D representations of the object, they generally depict consecutive steps with two pictures and let the user wonder himself what has changed between the two.
Instead of this “spot the difference” game, we thought that the best way to give all the information to the user is to give the possibility to manipulate a faithful 3D reproduction of the object, so that he or she can see every single element.
Significant progress has been achieved with the creation of 3D applications meant to facilitate the assembly of LEGO bricks. Though resulting from a good idea, those 3D manuals happen to be mere 3D representations of the final LEGO assembly. 2D paper manuals have only been taken to a three-dimensional level and the developers have stopped right in the middle of the real (r)evolution.
3DS Education Lab went further and decided that a revolutionary 3D assembly instruction should offer a natural, progressive path and that the user should be able to actually see the parts being assembled before his eyes. Beyond 3D representations, this is why we created our own 3D assembly instructions.
Jordan, a third-year student at the University of St Quentin-en-Yvelines (France), is doing an internship at Dassault Systèmes where he is in charge of the development of 3D Virtual Learning Environments. Thanks to 3DVIA Composer, he developed in a couple of hours a 3D instructions manual for a LEGO Mindstorms Education robot. Available on 3DS Academy, this groundbreaking animated 3D manual allows people to interact and see any side of the robot, at any step of the assembly. The user has the possibility to rotate, pan and zoom the model, thus reducing misunderstandings.
See a short presentation of the 3D animated assembly manual in use:
Thanks to clear and concise assembly instructions, the user is now able to assemble his robot in no time and can thus rapidly turn to more advanced functionalities. His mind is free to focus on more complex disciplines such as systems engineering or mechatronics.
Furthering the revolution of 3D animated assembly manuals, 3DS Academy Lab indeed decided to propel LEGO into a brand new experience by creating a smartphone application allowing to drive both a physical robot and its 3D virtual avatar in CATIA V6.
Clement, another intern at Dassault Systèmes, used Android technology and CATIA V6 to develop an application that enables the user to control simultaneously via Bluetooth a real LEGO robot and a virtual robot. In addition, the application allows real-time interaction between the robot and its avatar.
Through this lifelike experience, students are able to learn an emerging technology through the ones they are already familiar with (smartphones, LEGO bricks).