New Virtual Clay Sculpting Software Simplifies Prototype Development
January 15, 2010

New Virtual Clay Sculpting Software Simplifies Prototype Development

Getzville, N.Y. - Tactus Technologies Inc. of Getzville, N.Y., has released Protean, an intuitive 3D virtual clay sculpting and modeling software application that allows fast early-stage design for engineering, animation, and other applications.
Tactus Technologies engineers note that Protean simplifies the ability to do real-time 3D volumetric modeling, resulting in highly efficient free form shape and model creation. Its easy-to-use tool-based modeling structure allows for rapid design and prototyping.

“The power of the application rests in the innovative mathematical representation of the clay,” explains Thenkurussi Kesavadas, Ph.D, co-founder of Tactus. “Protean introduces a new paradigm that permits modeling of complicated 3D shapes more intuitively and efficiently than any commercial modeling system.”

Its product developers point out that a key advantage of Protean over conventional clay modeling by hand is that it allows the review of a wider variety of candidate designs. Protean is meant to complement the existing arsenal of design and modeling capabilities of industrial designers, engineers, creative artists, sculptors, architects, animators, game designers, marketers, bioengineers, and others.

As a creative tool, Protean emulates intuitive clay modeling operations and easily allows deforming – pushing, pulling, twisting and stretching of the virtual clay material. Its mimicking of physical clay lets users “feel” the material as they would in the real world using a Falcon haptic device from Novint Technologies, Albuquerque, N.M.

Tactus Technologies programmers add that the new software allows designers to create complex organic shapes more quickly than conventional modeling methods – and in a simpler manner, using just one clay manipulating mode to facilitate 3D shaping ability inherent in the software. The company emphasizes that Protean is not a CAD system, yet permits the production of high-quality three-dimensional prints using rapid prototyping technology.

“Protean is an enormous technological advancement, because it allows real-time 3D volumetric modeling without requiring a lot of computer power,” says Kevin P. Chugh, Ph.D, president and chief scientist at Tactus. “No one solves the complex mathematical challenges in this space the way our system does.”

Protean-created 3D models can also be conveniently imported into widely used commercial packages, such as 3D Studio Max, to serve as an integral part of larger-scale animation or product design projects. Protean was in development for three years and was funded in part by the National Science Foundation. Protean is a spin off product from the Virtual Reality laboratory at the University at Buffalo.