Augmented reality headset maker Meta Company unveiled Meta Viewer, its first software application, during its keynote at the Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara on Wednesday.
Meta Viewer enables Meta 2 users to view 3D CAD models in augmented reality while maintaining the integrity of design information that can be lost when converting files to AR formats.
During his presentation on elevating storytelling in AR, Joe Mikhail, chief revenue officer at Meta, demonstrated the new app and previewed future voice command and collaboration functionality coming to the Meta 2.
"The Meta 2 headset and Meta Viewer Beta combination provides our customers with the most immersive, real-time visualization and interaction with 3D designs and models," said Mikhail in a statement. "Utilizing these products drastically changes the product development lifecycle by reducing costs and saving time through quick and easy collaboration. The result is faster time-to-market and decreased customer acquisition cost."
Users can move, rotate, and scale the models via hand gestures, with various 3D model file formats, including Khronos gITF 2.0, SOLIDWORKS gITF, and others. With Solidwork's format, Meta Viewer can also render animated models, including exploded views and motion, display different design states, allowing changes in material, color, and part configurations, and scale up to real-world dimensions.
Meta 2 users will be able to download Meta Viewer Beta app will be available to download starting this week from the Meta website.
The app is aimed primarily at office workers outside of the IT department, so it is designed to be user-friendly to non-technical personnel. Meta Viewer is particularly beneficial to design and engineering professionals, for whom CAD files are as indispensable as spreadsheets are for accountants. Salespeople can also use the app to show designs to prospective customers, while decision makers review and approve building and product designs.
Previously, Meta teamed up with Dassault Systèmes to bring Meta 2 support to the Solidworks 3D CAD software.
"Support for 3D CAD viewing is important to our customers, and for the growth of the AR market," said Mikhail in a statement.
With emerging technologies, hardware and software makers often need to give their customers real-world examples of how the technology can benefit them. Microsoft recently introduced a pair of HoloLens apps to show businesses how its augmented reality headset can improve workforce productivity. Google published its Just a Line AR experiment to showcase ARCore capabilities, including the new cross-platform Cloud Anchors service.
Meta's objective with Meta Viewer is help companies improve their business processes by shortening the design cycle and, in turn, reducing operations costs. The app facilitates quick and easy sharing of designs that are typically only viewable at the physical production stage. Such utility contributes to Meta's goal of replacing traditional desktop displays with augmented reality headsets.