An innovative software modeling product that hints at the way 3D Printers may work in the future is the soon to be released as Text to 3D by BrainDistrict GmbH. The concept is fairly simple. Users type a description of what they want and Text to 3D pulls up a model from a cloud-based database.
Featured on Text to 3D's web site is a video demonstrating the workflow. The user types "room with windows" and the geometry for a room with windows appears. Users can get more specific and request objects such as furniture, dimensions, specific locations, material types and lighting conditions to modify the room with a high level of detail. Being able to generate geometry on the fly without going through the time consuming process of learning a 3D application is a godsend for eager artists new to 3D design.
For architectural design, Text to 3D appears to work very well. Currently there are about 135 models in the Text to 3D database and most of those models are elements that would be useful for interior decorating and landscape design such as furniture, buildings, trees and rugs. But beyond architectural elements, the software may be limited. Request a model that is not yet in the database you are out of luck.
The software is in its beginning stages and the database and text commands will continue to grow. Text to 3D could potentially connect to other model databases such as Thingiverse, Turbosquid, My Mini Factory, and Pin Shape to broaden the catalog of geometric objects available.
What is most exciting about Text to 3D is how this software might interact with 3D printing. Imagine a version called Voice to 3D where you could simply request a 3D object on command. Now integrate that functionality directly into the 3D printer and you have the first prototype for a Star Trek replicator.