CAD goes mouseless

CAD goes mouseless

Autodesk is giving its CAD (Computer Assisted Drawing) products a free hand.

The California-based software vendor has just released Architectural Studio, a new product that, for the first time, gives Autodesk customers the ability to design without the aid of a mouse.

"The interface is pen-based," said Doug Look, senior strategist at Autodesk. "If you look on an architect's desk today you will see the usual CAD systems, but you will also still see paper, pen and pencil."

The software does not replace Autodesk's AutoCAD and Architectural Desktop. "Those products are for design documentation," Look said. "They are used more when you are in production mode. The new product is for creation and communication in the design phase."

Architectural Studio also features a collaboration tool, called Design Site, which allows workers to collaborate remotely on projects.

"We think this software could be revolutionary," said Mario Guttman, corporate CAD director for the HOK Group, an architectural firm in St. Louis. "CAD has been inaccessible to a lot of senior people in the architectural industry. This puts automated tools back in their hands."

Look said the new product capitalises on recent advances in pen-based input and graphics tablet technology. It works with a number of pen-based input systems including the Wacom Graphire, Sony VAIO Slimtop, Fujitsu Stylistic 3400/3500 series and Microsoft's Tablet PC.

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