Elon Musk Designs Rockets in the Air with Leap Motion

Elon Musk and SpaceX want to take humanity to other planets. To help make that dream a reality, the real-life inspiration for Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man has been using the Leap Motion Controller to design a rocket part prototype using hand gestures. It’s a truly new experience for the pioneering company, bringing together cutting-edge aerospace engineering with our Leap Motion Controller. And it’s the very same device that anyone can buy on leapmotion.com or grab off the shelf at Best Buy or Maplins for $79.99.

Musk tweeted about SpaceX’s touchless design system on August 23, and it quickly went viral:

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By integrating the Leap Motion Controller with their CAD platform, SpaceX engineers can manipulate virtual rocket parts with a high degree of nuance and control. It allows them to dive into virtual models and see them in new ways. From design to prototype, the component can be printed in titanium in a matter of days at SpaceX headquarters.

Founded by Musk in 2002, SpaceX designs, manufacturers, and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. They’ve already become the first private company to return a spacecraft from low-Earth orbit and resupply the International Space Station. With their Falcon Heavy rocket, they soon hope to send a crewed spacecraft on lunar orbiting missions.

But their true giant leap for mankind, enabling human settlements on other planets, is a dream decades in the making. Meeting this challenge means nothing less than bringing science fiction to life – playing with engineering and design concepts to create something new. By exploring touch-free interaction with CAD and the Leap Motion Controller, SpaceX takes another first step towards that giant leap.