The IKEA Home Planner.
It is intelligent: elements know their type, name, price, colour, material. They are constrained (a bed will stay on the floor, a power switch will go on the wall); The program is easy to use, intuitive and interactive. Good navigational tools. There are numerous other similar programs available on the market. As you design, you document and prepare a fully priced BOM.
Most serious professionals (architects and designers) frown at these ‘toys’.
They’d say the programs are restricting, square, boring, limiting. They hold back imagination, force conformity. They’re no good.
How come, most ‘real’ CAD packages are unable to hit all these targets?
Is the flexibility of design such a high priority with developers that all the other features described above are neglected? Can’t we have both?
I mentioned the opportunity manufacturers of products/materials have with providing clever tools: imagine if each one contributed to a pool of virtual-designing gadgets available free to architects and designers?
A digital ethylenetetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) skinmaker?
When prompted, most manufacturers are willing to explore these ideas; The challenge is: what ‘platform’ to use? It is a near monopolistic market – one player has been ruling the roost for 3 decades: Autodesk.
They have ruled but not really delivered; Time for an open source, wiki-platform!
Who’ll fill the need? Google? Sims? Second life? Some other gaming company?
A website of a toolmaker that had been courting the above described idea for quite some time: