Senior User Interaction Designer, Lira Nikolovska, is one of the inventors of the Autodesk Tangible View Cube. She sent some great information for my blog.
Greg Demchak, Matt Jezyk, and myself [Lira] are the three Revit designers behind the "Tangible View Cube" project. The Tangible View Cube is a small, wireless handheld device used for controlling the orientation of an on-screen 3D model. The device can be passed between users to share control of the orientation of the 3D model.
Over a year ago we visited an architecture office for user research. Completely unrelated to why we were there, a few clients asked why, at a time when tangible computing is taking a full blown swing, Autodesk still focuses on mouse and keyboard inputs. "Have we not evolved?" they asked. Greg recently finished working on the Chicago project and we had been discussing tangible interactions. Matt has always tinkered with programming and was into hacking Wii, inspired by a fellow CMU grad. I have background in tangible interactions both from MIT and Philips Design and have developed interactive furniture. In the train on the way back to Boston, we brainstormed about possible tangible inputs and agreed to start by designing a physical representation of the View Cube available in many Autodesk applications. It was a small and well-focused project that could help us get started and would not require large resources to make. We developed the concept but swamped with day-to-day work, we commissioned Patten Studio to develop the prototype. We reached out to Brian Pene when we learned that he had been also working in the tangible interactions space.
Long term we would like to start exploring scenarios of application of tangible computing to conceptual design and other phases of architectural projects.