Combining sight and touch—Geomagic acquires Sensable
Here’s an interesting development; Geomagic®, a provider of 3D software for capturing, creating and inspecting digital models of physical objects, bought the Sensable Technology Inc. ® 3D design and haptics businesses. Sensable®, of Wilmington, Mass., is the developer of volumetric CAD/CAM solutions, and the Phantom® force-feedback haptic devices that simulate the physical sensation of touch in the virtual world.
According to Ping Fu, CEO of Geomagic, this acquisition will enable the company to develop products that add the sensation of touch to the design experience. Geomagic already offers products that capture digital data. Said Fu, “Sight and feel are two major human sensibilities that enhance the design experience. For our customers, Sensable products are a natural extension for modeling and enhancing the scan data from Geomagic; for Sensable customers, starting with a scanned model rather than blank screen makes it far easier and faster to start a design, requires less time to sculpt the 3D model, and the finished designs can be exchanged into CAD surfaces using the Geomagic family of software. The synergies will be a tremendous value to existing and new customers.”
Sensable has a range of voxel-based 3D design software including the FreeForm® and ClayTools® programs. The voxel-based software with the haptic input should create an intuitive, tactile and precise user experience for sculpting “virtual clay.” Some of the Sensable 3D design programs also include tools for preparing digital models for manufacturing (particularly for mold and casting production methods) including draft analysis and complex parting line creation.
Geomagic software creates digital models from physical parts to be used in design and engineering workflows, archiving and the visual arts. Inspection tools deliver accurate, automated measurement. The products from the combined companies encompass broader design-to-manufacture workflows with added freedom to allow product designers, engineers and innovators to design in natural and intuitive ways.
Geomagic will continue to support Phantom haptic input devices, further develop Freeform design and manufacturing solutions, and the developer’s API for haptics research. Geomagic will retain Sensable’s operations and employees in the Boston area giving the company a strategic Northeast location. They plan to hire additional employees.
In addition to the product portfolio, Geomagic is also acquiring the majority of Sensable’s considerable patent portfolio, which extends across haptic device designs and applications and voxel-based modeling. Sensable’s dental products are not included in this acquisition.