Cameraphones as New Design Tools
It is well known that at the early design stage, designers still prefer the fluidity of traditional sketching as means to express their form concepts, instead of the rigid, user-interface of Computer-Aided Design (CAD) systems. The inherent characteristics of the pencil-and-paper medium, such as its portability, make it the first choice for designers to instantly express their ideas, both inside and also outside their usual workplace. Also, due to increased globalization, designers are frequently mobile, requiring instant access to engineering knowledge whenever a critical decision needs to be taken. Therefore, this paper concerns the on-going development of a mobile design tool which integrates freehand sketching with three-dimensional (3D) modelling technology. More specifically, this paper discloses a framework enabling designers to remotely obtain 3D models and related knowledge from sketches by combining the portability of paper with that of cameraphones. Three applications of an implemented prototype tool, based on this framework, are presented. Collectively, these applications demonstrate that cameraphones are useful tools which provide mobile support for designers.