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Thread: Does anyone do CAD/3-D modeling completely hands-free?

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  1. #1

    Does anyone do CAD/3-D modeling completely hands-free?

    I have finally managed to switch between Windows XP/very old, obsolete version of DragonDictate to Windows 10 And Naturallyspeaking 13 Pro, and now I'm getting ambitious! There are several things I'd like to design, but I need to learn how to do it first.

    I'm told I really need a mouse in order to manipulate the models and align things. I've tried head tracking in the past, but don't have good range of motion and my neck got fatigued very quickly. I've seriously considered eye tracking, but it doesn't look quite accurate enough for this purpose. (If anyone knows better, please correct me.) Maybe some sort of lip-mounted mouse or trackball could work, but I'm worried it would be too bulky to fit over my trach and ventilator tubing yet not block my view of the screen.

    Has anyone done this already, completely hands-free? What's your set up?

  2. #2
    I took an engineering drafting course in college. We used AutoCAD and most of the design work can be done with command lines. You are entering X,Y,X coordinates and giving commands via text in a console prompt. The alignment isn't an issue if you can remember the coordinates properly. I couldn't see why that wouldn't work with Dragon. I've never done it myself entirely without a mouse, but I think you could find a way. I'm using Solidworks now and it's much more about manipulation with the mouse.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Joe-MN's Avatar
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    Cannot help you, but wondering what software you plan on using. Fusion 360 is a web based system that is free. From Autodesk I think.
    Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.

  4. #4
    I've tried to use a head mouse and dwell clicking software with the mountain bike suspension designing software Linkage. It isn't easy getting the accuracy needed and the dwell click software far from ideal when you need to drag and position. You might want to try with one of the mouth mouses where you won't need dwell clicking software as that seems to be the limiting factor.

  5. #5
    Senior Member zagam's Avatar
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    I used to do it from a keyboard prior to the digital dark age (1980s to present). I.e. vector off to the exact mm. CAD with command line box will still allow this.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by zagam View Post
    I used to do it from a keyboard prior to the digital dark age (1980s to present). I.e. vector off to the exact mm. CAD with command line box will still allow this.
    I use the smartnav with dwell clicking on autocad and it works good. the smartnav has adjustments that you can set so you don't have to turn your head as much. you could use a sip puff switch with the smartnav if you want which makes it easier to click on things instead of the dwell clicking. just don't like being connected to the computer by wires so i prefer to use the dwell option

  7. #7
    you could use a sip puff switch with the smartnav if you want which makes it easier to click on things instead of the dwell clicking. just don't like being connected to the computer by wires so i prefer to use the dwell option
    There is a new software product called the Smyle Mouse, that allows clicking without dwelling or wires or switches. You smile to cause a click. (The smiles are captured by a webcam.)

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by perceptd View Post
    There is a new software product called the Smyle Mouse, that allows clicking without dwelling or wires or switches. You smile to cause a click. (The smiles are captured by a webcam.)
    Having researched this because I plan on making a competing product within the next year there is also head mouse nano which allows you to blink as a click. The main problem I see with just either the smile or blink as the click is it gives you only 1 option (which your likely to pick as left click). The Dwell click 2 software gives you a way to get 6 main combinations (left click, right click, click and drag, etc.) but because it's based on dwelling for a configurable length of time it will slow down the interface considerably (certainly better than nothing). CAD, photoshop, 3ds max, etc. there are main actions that make this slowness less than ideal and there are tons of hotkeys in each program. Things like selection, zooming, quick action hotkeys, can probably all be achieved but it will require lots of menus and at least slow you down by a factor of 10.

    Unless someone knows of another product that I'm missing, this will be one of my main focuses over the coming year. Power users would ideally like something with quick custom bindings to any action and need a decent amount of them (20 or so would be great and probably get you pretty close to the speed of anyone else). This should make power programs or gaming to be much better than it is currently if I can get it reliable enough.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by greggtwep16 View Post
    Having researched this because I plan on making a competing product within the next year there is also head mouse nano which allows you to blink as a click. The main problem I see with just either the smile or blink as the click is it gives you only 1 option (which your likely to pick as left click). .
    1) I am not sure HeadMouse Nano has a blink click; I could not find a reference that states that. But I could be missing something there; please share if you have a reference.

    2) Smyle Mouse does provide multiple click types -- Left, Right, Double Left, Double Right, L. Click&Drag, R. Click&Drag, based on dwelling as well as on smiling. Therefore users have another option to achieve all those clicks without dwelling. (Dwelling clicking can lead to unintentional clicks unless the user takes extra steps of activating and deactivating it frequently.) Smyle Mouse also provides scrolling based on smile. It also allows the user to park their mouse temporarily (so that it is not always moving with their head motion.)

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by perceptd View Post
    1) I am not sure HeadMouse Nano has a blink click; I could not find a reference that states that. But I could be missing something there; please share if you have a reference.

    2) Smyle Mouse does provide multiple click types -- Left, Right, Double Left, Double Right, L. Click&Drag, R. Click&Drag, based on dwelling as well as on smiling. Therefore users have another option to achieve all those clicks without dwelling. (Dwelling clicking can lead to unintentional clicks unless the user takes extra steps of activating and deactivating it frequently.) Smyle Mouse also provides scrolling based on smile. It also allows the user to park their mouse temporarily (so that it is not always moving with their head motion.)
    1. Sorry been swimming in the product landscape for the past few weeks getting products mixed up. There is a youtube video labeled headmouse that does show blinking but it is not the same as the head mouse nano. Looking at the details on the video it doesn't match up with an end product or at least the name on the video is incorrect.

    2. I've looked through all of your youtube videos and it looks like a very nice product. A bit disappointed that a software only product is being priced the same as some of the hardware + software offerings, but that is each companies decision and not sure how many employees you need to support.

    My main point with regard to this thread's original topic though is still the same that it isn't ideal for power applications (CAD, 3ds max, Photoshop etc.). This would also apply to the competition (SmartNav + dwell click 2). The main problem as I see it is the lack of many distinct realtime cues. In power applications vs. casual uses (browsing the web, watching videos, etc.) there is need for many combinations of keys and clicks. You'll often need to left click drag and lasso a selection, then click the mouse scroll bar to pan the view, and then perhaps hit a hotkey (let's say ctrl-g) to start an action, then zoom out and drag some more. These programs have the distinct need for many distinct realtime cues (both mouse and keyboard). Dwelling or flipping modes is time consuming and easily will slow down the use of these programs by at least a factor of 10 and probably more.

    I certainly understand with a webcam this might be difficult to do in image recognition. Even if you break it into multiple types of smiles of gestures (smile, frown, blinking, etc.) these power programs have the unfortunate distinction of having tons (using all the letters on the keyboard, shift, ctrl, etc.) of hotkeys and it's difficult to have that many cues hands free. I'm still researching voice products and perhaps there is one out there to allow key rebinding but it's the only medium I can think of that could hope to achieve that. If there is no product that is certainly the avenue I will be pursuing first and after that trying the phone route to release a sub $100 product which I haven't seen yet.

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