27 Feb 2018

Autodesk's Philippe Leefsma Presented the Autodesk Forge AR/VR Toolkit at FITC Amsterdam 2018

Perhaps you've got a CAD model that you would like to see in virtual or augmented reality, but you imagine that getting your model into that environment would be a total hassle? If so, have you considered the Autodesk Forge AR/VR Toolkit?

Augmented reality (AR) is an enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device such as a camera on a smartphone. When an Autodesk Gallery exhibit overlays contour lines on a pile of real sand, that's augmented reality. On the other hand, virtual reality (VR) is an artificial world consisting of images and sounds created by a computer that is affected by the actions of a person experiencing it. Most first-person video games are examples of virtual reality and typically require special hardware like a headset or holder for a smartphone. So unlike augmented reality, in virtual reality, everything is virtual instead of real.

Autodesk Forge is our application program interface (API) platform and supporting materials (sample code, manuals) as well as a community of developers who uses those APIs. Although Forge is intended for our customers and 3rd party developers to be able to use our web services, we use Forge for our development of the cloud-based services that we offer. You can leverage Forge in the same ways that we do.

Philippe Leefsma is a Principal Developer Advocate at Autodesk. My history with him goes back as far as the ADN Plug-in of the Month on Autodesk Labs. Many of those plug-ins were created by Philippe, or he worked with Autodesk Developer Network customers to make them.

Recently, Philippe presented the AR / VR Toolkit at FITC Amsterdam 2018 where FITC stands for Future, Innovation, Technology, Creativity. Now in its 11th year, FITC is a groundbreaking design and tech event on the "future of innovation, design, and all the cool shit in between." Just this month, digital creators gathered to hear world-renowned speakers talk design, development, creativity and so much more.

The purpose of Philippe's class was to show attendees how to bring high-quality design content into a virtual or augmented reality experience which had always been difficult until the AR/VR Toolkit's debut. Philippe showcased the toolkit for the first time in Europe. The toolkit is an API (Application Program Interface) and associated SDK (Software Development Kit) that transforms the workflow for bringing assets to your favorite AR or VR experience from “head-banging hard” to “smooth and simple.” Fear not as Hololens, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Daqri, Apple ARKit, Google ARCore — they’re all supported.

The Forge AR/VR toolkit allows you to stream data from your design files directly to your experience, providing graphics and object metadata on demand. Line of site, occlusion, and Levels Of Details are all taken care of for you, so you can get on with the job of creating the experience your user needs instead of fighting for frame rate.

The toolkit allowed Philippe to demonstrate an easy pipeline from design data to AR/VR platforms for software and web developers, IT managers, and tech people in general. The class was a big hit with audience members with basic experience with VR/AR and REST web services but was meaningful to anyone with a minimal programming background.

According to Philippe, the five things that attendees learned included how to:

  1. Understand the basics of interacting with design data.
  2. Build an experience made for the industry.
  3. Get competitive advantages by using new technologies in day-to-day workflows.
  4. Kickstart AR/VR developments.
  5. Be prepared for what is coming next in the AR/VR world.

It's too late to attend the class, but you can still review Philippe's class slides:

Review the class slides

And most importantly, you can still download and try the toolkit for yourself:

Download the toolkit

Thanks for the information, Philippe.

Related Article