Setting up a new home in New York, I’ve had to blaze through a bunch of projects that have included assembling all manner of furniture using old paper instructions. Though the work got done, I’m hoping that it won’t be long before we see products come with 3-D instructions supplied by programs like Autodesk Inventor Publisher (s ADSK), which made its debut Wednesday on Android (s GOOG).
The program allows companies to take their CAD designs and turn them into 3-D instructions and documentation users can view on their phones and tablets using a free Inventor Publisher Mobile Viewer app. Using it, a user can pan around a product, see the step-by-step process of assembly and view animation that can help tie steps together. Most people can get through 2-D paper instructions just fine, but they’re very static and often rely on too much text, which can introduce comprehension problems. 3-D images, on the other hand, can get a user through a project faster and with more confidence.
The program has been available on iOS (s AAPL) since last September, and now with the Android release, it will hopefully encourage more companies to use it to share instructions. Companies who use CAD programs for design can easily import their work into Inventor Publisher, and start building out 3-D instructions to complement traditional paper documentation. Ikeafans, an Ikea forum; Engineering.com; and BicycleTutor have all started releasing instructions through the Inventor Publisher Mobile Viewer App, helping double downloads of the iOS app in the last month.
I think this is one of the areas where smart devices can really help bring an old piece of information to life. We’ve already seen the way media is being changed and disrupted by smartphones and tablets. Instruction manuals don’t get the same amount of use, but they can really show off the power of touch and 3-D on a device. There aren’t that many directions on the iOS app right now, but I’m hoping it starts to pick up soon. I still have a lot of projects ahead of me.