Skip to main content

Hands on with Leonar3do, the next big thing in 3D modeling

As recent University of Iowa graduate Zach Arenson will tell you, the learning curve for an average 3D modeling software is anywhere from several hundred hours to weeks. But with a new tool from Hungarian start-up Leonar3do, these hours dropped to just a few days. I know what you’re thinking: It’s obvious the company paid this kid to come boast about the product and how wonderful it makes his life. But after my hands-on demo, it was only a few minutes before I was drawing my own (unintentionally phallic) version of the Death Star.

The magic comes in two parts: The 3D modeling software and the physical tool, the Bird. The Bird is a tripod-esque pen that allows users to drag and shift the 3D model, pinching and pulling until they manipulate the object into their desired shape. A combination of three line sensors attached to the monitor and 3D glasses also allows the user to look around the virtual object, making it seem like the item is right in front of you. If you tilt your head to the left, you can see the side of the object all the way around to the back.

Related Videos

The fascinating aspect of this Leonar3do technology is how intuitive the experience feels. Arenson is right in that the learning curve is extremely small; if you already have some working knowledge of Photoshop, you’ll come to find the brush stroke percentage and sizing tools rather familiar. However, Leonar3Do representative Ronald Manyai also said the company held a contest at a local school and students were able to model a 3D car in just one weekend.

There are many ways one can toy around with the Leonar3do technology: You can buy the tool kit which comes with the Bird pen, triangulation sensors, and 3D googles, purchase just the software, or download the app and use your mobile phone as the main 3D controller. In the last case, you would hover the phone in front of the monitor and use the buttons on your phone’s screen to shapeshift your virtual 3D sculpture.

It’s a fun tool for both designers and educators to help students learn the basics of 3D modeling and logic even without an ounce of programming or architectural knowledge. At a cost of $2,000 per software, it’s not a completely unrealistic price point for classrooms across America but Manyai says a cheaper $50 version will launch in the coming months for those looking to experiment. The accompanying app will come to both the App Store and Google Play in March.

Here’s a demonstration video from Leonar3do showcasing a much more appealing model than my tentacle planet.

Editors' Recommendations

5G-enabled billboard in Times Square briefly brings interactive game to masses
Picture of Time Square.

If you've ever wanted to play a game with random strangers while standing in the middle of Times Square, well, your prayers were briefly answered on September 8 and 9.

Using the Mega Screen billboard located at 1500 Broadway and West 43 Street in Manhattan, bystanders could scan a QR code with their smartphones to participate as an "interactive spectator" in Streamline Studios' 2020 co-op game Bake 'n Switch. Those who did so were able to jump in and play part of the game without having to download or install it.

Read more
Why are so few people actually using 5G in the U.S.? Here’s what the experts say
5G on the all new iPad mini.

Despite many devices boasting 5G capabilities these days, a recent study showed people in the U.S. spend less than 25% of their online time connected to a 5G network. This may be because 5G-enabled devices are outpacing 5G access. Last year, 14 million users subscribed to mobile 5G services, and the number was forecasted to grow to 554 million by the end of this year. Today, more than halfway into 2021, T-Mobile has already connected 305 million people with 5G networks. Along with T-Mobile, other major mobile operators like Verizon and AT&T were quick to roll out 5G in the last few months, collectively covering 75% of the U.S. 
On paper, the numbers look great, making it seem like 5G covers most of the country. In practice, there's a discrepancy, with many people still not operating on 5G networks. What accounts for this discrepancy? We asked the experts. 

The pandemic hurdle
Rollout of 5G capacity was speeding along until it slammed into a big wall in the form of the pandemic. “We’ve had to rely on telecommunications to connect with our friends, family, and colleagues. That’s caused a sudden emphasis on wireless connectivity -- especially with remote work -- which puts pressure on companies to accommodate increased demand,” says Shawn Carpenter, program director at Ansys, a company that helps in the engineering of 5G hardware.
While 4G was enough during the pre-pandemic period, when most things happened in person, 4G was not designed to support our current demand level or to support non-smartphone applications such as the Internet of Things, says David Witkowski, IEEE senior member, and founder and CEO of Oku Solutions. 
To help solve the sudden connectivity crisis that came with the coronavirus spread, 5G operators and 5G-focused startups also started to come up with unique solutions to provide efficient health care and educational services. For instance, Unmanned Life developed a 5G autonomy-as-a-service platform that can provide autonomous drones to disinfect COVID-prone regions, deliver essentials like medical supplies and food, and monitor crowded spaces from a distance. These innovations are great, but they also put more strain on the network. 
Mobile 5G subscriptions for general consumer use are still lagging.

Read more
Here’s what a trend-analyzing A.I. thinks will be the next big thing in tech
brain network on veins illustration

Virtual and augmented reality. 3D printing. Natural language processing. Deep learning. The smart home. Driverless vehicles. Biometric technology. Genetically modified organisms. Brain-computer interfaces.

These, in descending order, are the top 10 most-invested-in emerging technologies in the United States, as ranked by number of deals. If you want to get a sense of which technologies will be shaping our future in the years to come, this probably isn’t a bad starting point.

Read more