In last week’s Cool Tools of Doom n’ Stuff, we mentioned Elon’s upcoming reveal for a gestured-controlled rocket design. Sure enough he shared the video yesterday via Twitter. This is Elon riding the ‘Future of Design’ like the broken colt of an Altai mountain stallion. Giddyup.

We try to create 3D objects, using a variety of 2D tools and it doesn’t feel natural… I think we’re on the verge of a major breakthrough in design and manufacturing… it’s going to revolutionize design and manufacturing in the 21st century.” – Elon Musk

YouTube video

In the video Elon Musk steps through the process of manipulating the view of a wireframe assembly model (of the Merlin Rocket engine), of the 3D assembly, of a part of that 3D assembly using a Leap Motion device, proceeding to view it with both 3D glasses and in VR with an Occulus Rift headset and finally showing it printed on a EOS Selective laser sintering (SLS) 3D Printer. Quite impressive, and enough to make some Youtube commentators (and journalists) believe he invented all of it himself.

Of course, the parts, the time and the finite mouse clicks, drags and picks in creating each part of the assembly (maintaining feature dependency, tolerances — stop, that’s not sexy!) happened prior to playing about with the models… and that’s what it comes down to. These devices, this technology is advancing product development, but we also need to consider how we interact with matter, the elements of mater, the lines, arc and vertices on a finer level. To think that the single tip of a mouse cursor gets us there is limited. Strange enough, facial recognition and eye control were not in the mix.

But that is neither here nor there–tech will advance, we’ll manipulate geometry with specs of skin as it sheds from our chin–beyond simply interacting with it. Yes, in this video, Elon laid out the cool tech shaping the future of design interaction and gives a better idea of where this tech is used in the process. He could have talked more about the people developing the software and devices. To his credit though, he does give props to the companies up front: Leap Motion and Siemens NX, thanking Occulus Rift and NVIDIA and a bonus shout out to the EOS 3D Printer on Twitter.







Josh is founder and editor at, 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.