3D Software

Google enters 3D design with Poly, focus is on VR and AI

Google has launched Poly, a 3D object library offering a one-stop shop to browse, discover and download 3D objects, some of which are suitable for remixing and 3D printing.

Aimed at VR, ARCore or ARKit developers, Poly is integrated with Google’s VR painting “Tiltbrush” tool and VR 3D modelling tool “Blocks.”

File formats ready for 3D printing

Poly supports uploads in the .OBJ or .MTL (Material Template Library) file formats, but
 designs can only exported in an “.OBJ” file format. This is a CAD file format that represents the geometry of a 3D design, developed by Wavefront technologies (now owned by Autodesk).

However, unlike “.STL” files, which represent surface geometry of a 3D object, “.OBJ” files are capable of additionally representing texture, color and other CAD attributes of the 3D design.

From VR to 3D printing

Both file formats are suitable for 3D printing (and are compatible with most slicing and printing software), so Google Poly’s multicoloured 3D models can be 3D printed by any printer that supports .OBJ files, with the appropriate mesh repair processing.

Remixing hassle free

Remixing designs plays an important role in 3D design and 3D printing. “Liking” a design on Poly will import a design into Tilt Brush or Blocks, allowing the design to be customised.

Upon publication of the remix, Poly will automatically credit the remixes and link to the original creation, removing fears about the theft of IP on the platform. 

Microsoft in comparison

As a digital library of 3D creations, Google Poly is a rival to Microsoft’s Remix 3D. Microsoft’s platform allows other users to import, edit and share a range of different objects and ideas. Microsoft’s Paint 3D is also a direct competitor to google’s Tiltbrush.

However, Google Poly is oriented towards VR and AR, and subsequently accommodates low-poly models. Microsoft Remix 3D, on the other hand, supports some high resolution 3D models less suitable for 3D printing.

Remix 3D users can upload files in .FBX, .OBJ, .PLY, .STL, and .3MF formats. While Remix 3D objects can be exported to Paint 3D for customisation, they then require Microsoft’s own 3D Builder slicing software before 3D printing.

Interestingly, Microsoft has also been more direct about 3D printing, enabling Minecraft users to 3D print their creations directly from the game.

Confusion for Google AI

In other recent news about Google, the company’s Inception-v3 AI software managed to mistake a 3D printed turtle as a something with a higher calibre, a rifle.

Researchers at MIT 3D printed the turtle as an “adversarial example,” which tricked the AI software into misidentifying the turtle from a range of angles. The process, called “Expectation Over Transformation,” was used to show that the AI’s pattern recognition algorithms still don’t fully understand what they are looking at.

Speaking to Quartz Magazine, MIT’s Anish Athalye explained that “It shouldn’t be able to take an image, slightly tweak the pixels, and completely confuse the network.” Athalye added that even though “Neural networks blow all previous techniques out of the water in terms of performance,” the existence of adversarial examples showed that “we really don’t understand what’s going on.”

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Featured image shows a low poly 3D Fox design on Poly. Gif via Google Poly.