Sunglass API: the Google Docs for 3D Objects

Eric Carter, August 1st, 2012

SunglassCAD tools have assisted architects and engineers in product development for decades. Despite their widespread adoption and usefulness, two aspects of CAD tools remain pretty consistent across the CAD landscape: high costs and proprietary software. Sunglass aims to alleviate both pains of traditional CAD tools through the Sunglass API. Sunglass co-founder and CEO, Kaustuv DeBiswas, asserts: “We don’t want to compete on a feature-by-feature basis” with traditional CAD tools.  Rather, the Sunglass API constitutes a collaboration tool that serves “as the bridge for sharing 3D product design data and for managing version control for engineers and colleagues working across different systems.

DeBiswas further commented: “This is like Google Docs for 3D objects….We’re taking traditional desktop software from the architecture world and putting it in the cloud.” Not only does Sunglass exhibit the collaborative nature of Google Docs, the price point extends DeBiswas’ analogy. Where traditional CAD tools can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000, basic access to the Sunglass API is free.

The Sunglass API utilizes a REST protocol with JSON data format. The API “delivers hooks into major CAD tools like SolidWorks, Rhino, [and] SketchUp.” The 3D images pulled from the various CAD apps can be processed and delivered to common databases and cloud storage vendors (e.g. Box, Dropbox, etc.). Accordingly, designers can continue to use their CAD tool of choice and share their work with collaborators utilizing a different tool.

To this point, CAD software has not seen the collaboration and cross-platform capabilities of other software applications. Perhaps this stems from the complex nature of 3D images. Regardless, the Sunglass API should unleash a new era in CAD tools and enable a new scene of CAD collaboration.

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