Vention, a 3D industrial design platform, is releasing their beta today.
Founded in 2016 by a group of former mechanical and software engineers from McKinsey & Co, GE, Microsoft, and Pivotal, the platform scales-up the LEGO concept to the industrial level, with 3D design software and artificial intelligence (AI) support. The company raised a pre-seed round backed by Bolt and Real Ventures, two technology funds based out of Toronto and Boston, and a handful of prominent angel investors in the CAD and robotic communities.
“There’s a way now, the technology is ready, to extremely speed up the design and build of custom machines by integrating three things together,” Vention CEO Etienne Lacroix told MTLinTECH.
“Number one is an industrial grade lego kit. And this is basically a set of motion-control and structural parts that have all been sourced or designed to be fully compatibly with one another. The second piece of technology that was just getting ready back in 2014, is Web GL.”
These two elements work together to eliminate the issue of compatibility of parts that has so frustrated engineers in the past. Web GL renders 3D graphics, and has gotten robust enough to actually 3D design an entire machine in a browser without having to install anything or play with any licenses. The 3D design platform includes access to a library of industrial-grade lego parts, while the AI integration makes the experience of assembling a machine extremely fast.
“AI scans through all the possibilities of connection between your parts. Based on your mouse gesture or your camera angle, it will propose the option that is most likely to represent your design intent. So that means that somebody who never opened a mechanical computer aide system can now design 3d themselves without having to learn anything.”
In fact, navigating the design software is so intuitive that children have been able to do so with ease.
“My CTO, who’s a veteran of the 3D and cloud industry, sometimes uses his daughter to test our algorithm. And we always figure if his 7 year old daughter is able to design in Vention, we just made the lives of a lot of people much much easier.”
The final important Vention integration is community sharing. Designs can be edited by multiple collaborators and can be shared privately or publicly.
“We felt that if we connect those three things, if we remove the barriers between the software world and the hardware world, people can actually do machine design much much faster.”
We always figure if his 7 year old daughter is able to design in Vention, we just made the lives of a lot of people much much easier.
The platform is tailored to established and emerging mechanical designers in the fields of small business automation, agile manufacturing, product validation and research, and industrial design. Once designs are finalized, orders are shipped the following day with personalized assembly instructions.
“The initial vision was realizing that there’s all this new technology available to us, and that we could completely change the way people have been designing machines for the last 20 years. All by integrating or breaking down the frontier between the software world and the hardware world.”