Squeezin’ into that browser just isn’t as easy as it use to be. You’ve got 3D search capabilities busting out all over. It’s even spilling onto your desktop to make your media searching and organizing a multi-dimensional trip to Zoom-ville.

‘3D searching’ – It’s here and it’s getting more intense. From web pages to images and all the media stored in the recesses of your hard-drive, we’ve got you covered. But on the 3D CAD and Design side… uhm, not so much.

Who’s bringing the 3D? A handful of companies. There’s similarities and differences, but it all wreaks of abolishing traditional search. Take a look. Can any of this be applied to 3D CAD or design?

AMD Fusion Media Explorer





What the Coolest?
Cooliris really stands out here. It’s web-based, it’s fast and it’s intuitive. Now wonder they just raised 15 million. That’s not stopping the others and even some not listed here to crank up the development of 3D-ish ways to find content.

What about CAD and Design?
It’s outlandish I say, someone needs to be severely questioned. 3D search is lacking in 3D CAD and design. I doubt it’s developers overtly putting aside the idea. It’s just not the most important piece of functionality needed. A perfect opportunity for third-party developers.

Only one company that I know of, ShapeSpace, with their PartBrowser product, is actively developing a 3D search tool to search your desktop for 3D ‘in 3D’. It’s an excellent product, but I can’t help but wish it has some of the slickness of Cooliris or a web-based component. But is that really needed?

Media Explorer, particularly the 3D variety are getting more and more popular, but not even the kings of online user-generated content, 3DVia and Google 3D Warehouse, has a way to search their 3D data repositories in 3D, or to even retrieve data inside those models in a visually stunning manner. Which makes me ask again, is it really needed?

Update: from Csven on Twitter – @solidsmack – “Carbon Goggles“. Not so much a search but an AR-simulating HUD which overlaid environmental impact info. – This is a really interesting look at how to find info in a 3D environment. Perhaps some of this could be applied to search.


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.