The Harfang 3D software was implemented in the X-Fab prototyping space of the Ecole Polytechnique on 16 November 2020. This French solution is related to the development of real-time 3D Human-Machine Interface (HMI) and offers a true value to the students and entrepreneurs of the Ecole Polytechnique. François Gutherz, CTO at Harfang 3D, answered our questions about the same.
What is Harfang 3D?
"Harfang 3D, explains François Gutherz, is a French software dedicated to the creation of real-time 3D Human-Machine Interface."
A Human-Machine Interface or HMI allows the user to interact with a machine (computer, connected devices, embedded systems or robots) through a dashboard, a tablet or an autonomous screen. The programming in real-time 3D makes it possible to create connected devices, 3D simulations and even conduct virtual reality trainings with the goal of facilitating the use of a machine by ordinary users with no prior knowledge.
Harfang 3D is a multi-language (C++, Python, Lua and soon Google Go) and cross-platform solution (Windows, Linux, OSX) whose objective is to be accessible as much as possible. It consists of a dual-license which is free and proprietary and gives entire access to the source code for making changes that one wishes. Harfang 3D provides complete autonomy and independence for managing a project with collaborative support on the enterprise’s forum.
The goal of Harfang 3D is to improve the use of machines by humans with the use of latest generation tools. The use of real-time 3D allows interaction in a direct and efficient manner with the possibility of creation of objects and spaces instantly with a high level of precision and interactivity.
The solution began to be developed in 2017 with the support of Centre-Val de Loire region and BPI France. "Harfang 3D was developed due to a need at Movida Production states François Gutherz. We realised that there was a great need in the industry with respect to the existing solutions. Indeed, most of the real-time 3D solutions were linked to video games and not industrial applications. Hence, we decided to respond to this need and we had the opportunity to test the solution in industrial projects namely with clients from the automobile sector. "
As a 100% French solution, Harfang 3D offers multiple guarantees to its users.
Inter-operability : Harfang 3D is developed to be easily integrated in industrial projects, embedded systems and existing environment. On the contrary, the solutions in which the roadmap is dictated by the video game industry (Unity 3D from America or Unreal Engine which is American-Chinese) pose technical problems of integration and industrialisation.
Confidentiality and sovereignty : Harfang 3D is a software developed in France. For industrial use and particularly some sensitive economic activities such as Defense with linkage to sovereignity and strategic autonomy, the user data is not stored in the Cloud at all and source code is accessible and auditable. Backdoor connections are impossible.
Sustainability : The mainstream 3D technologies do not respond to the question of sustainability in the enterprises. Today, Harfang 3D knows that in industrial domain or defense, the maintenance needs in operational conditions can go upto 15 years and more.
Examples of applications with Harfang 3D
With Harfang 3D, you can create prototypes of products with HMI, connected devices, 3D simulation, virtual reality trainings etc. There are endless possibilities with the real-time 3D programming.
Below are some major projects managed by Harfang 3D in the last few years :
- a prototype of 3D autostereoscopic dashboard (3D visualisation without glasses) of cars for Valeo group, automobile equipment maker from France presented at Paris Motor Show 2018 and CES at Las Vegas in 2019
- an augmented reality embedded camera for Valeo presented at CES in Las Vegas in 2020
- an augmented reality component with Valeo designed to equip production vehicles
- a scientific study in virtual reality for SNCF concerning equipments of security present at stations with a reconstruction of a station in VR and collection of data related to the functioning of these equipments.
And you? What would you develop with Harfang 3D?
Installation of Harfang 3D at X-Fab of Ecole Polytechnique
The prototyping space X-Fab of the Ecole Polytechnique has been installed with the Harfang 3D software since 16 November 2020. The X-Fab is dedicated to entrepreneurs, students, engineers and researchers who create and develop innovative products.
The users of this space have now access to Virtual Reality training sessions created by Harfang 3D and Sonovision, subsidiary of the ORTEC group, for understanding and using machines that equip the prototyping space particularly the laser-cutting and engraving machine.
"In the long run, we hope to open up to more users in order to provide them our French alternative technology for their industrial requirements", adds François Gutherz.
What’s next ? The use of the software is free at the Fablab and throughout the evaluation and development phase. Moreover, the user enterprises can discuss the conditions of the application of industrial license protecting the development of their projects (owner's license, royalty…) with Harfang 3D.
This new tool at the X-Fab of Ecole Polytechnique will undoubtedly bring new perspectives to its incubated entrepreneurs and students who could develop their projects with a collaborative and innovative technology from France.