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Apple iOS Gets Improvements in Mobile CAD in Recent HOOPS Exchange Technology

Software developers for iOS and Android now have access to HOOPS Exchange in the latest version, enabling robust support for mobile app creation that supports demanding 3D CAD model data in various native industry standard formats, including IFC for the AEC BIM market.


There have been decent mobile CAD solutions for Apple’s iOS and even Google’s Android for several years now but with several limitations, including non-native CAD file format support. Often times the geometry data gets rewritten into another format than its native source format.

However, a recent development at Tech Soft 3D, a leading provider of development tools and 3D PDF solutions to the engineering industry, has added significant capabilities to its HOOPS Exchange SDK technology, adding support for Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android in addition to supporting all major desktop and cloud operating systems including Windows, Linux, and macOS.¹

Accessing the Full 3D Data Set

“Even with the increasing power of mobile devices, many companies still struggle to create or find a 3D viewer that does little more than enable the spinning around of a 3D model,” said Gavin Bridgeman, VP of Products at Tech Soft 3D. “Now developers and engineers can create their own 3D viewer that provides access to the full 3D data and enables more meaningful interaction with 3D models. The possibilities are endless.”

01 - HOOPS Communicator shown here using server-side interactive rendering on an Apple iPad.

01 – HOOPS Communicator shown here using server-side interactive rendering on an Apple iPad. Native iOS apps can now be written that load 3D data without pre-processing.

The initial release for this support for iOS and Android includes industry-common 3D CAD file formats such as STEP, JT, PRC, IGES, Parasolid, IFC, and U3D. Let’s look at a brief break-down of that list:

  • STEP — An ISO-standardized data exchange format
  • JT — An open file format (Jupiter Tesselation) is an ISO-standardized 3D data format often used as a CAD interoperability option between NX, Creo/Pro-E, I-DEAS, Solid Edge, Catia, Microstation or Autodesk Inventor
  • PRC — Product Representation Compact is a 3D file format aimed at being embedded into a 3D PDF
  • IGES — (pronounced eye-jess) is a vendor-neutral file format common for data exchange among CAD systems and was initially an US Air Force ICAM project.
  • Parasolid — is a geometry modeling kernel format and extremely popular among leading CAD tools (eg: ALLPLAN, Microstation, Siemens NX, Onshape, Shark FX, Vectorworks, etc)
  • IFC — is an ISO-standard aimed at interoperability in the AEC BIM industry. It stands for Industry Foundation Classes (IFC).
  • U3D — Universal 3d was formed by a consortium that included Intel, Boeing, HP, Adobe, Bentley, et al. It is a compressed file format standard for 3D and natively supported within the PDF standard. U3D objects can be easily inserted into PDF documents and interactively visualized (spin model, etc) from within Acrobat Reader and other similar tools.

Additional importers will be added upon request. This gives access to the exact geometry found within CAD files to a mobile application and tools like Apple’s iPad Pro and iPhone, greatly expanding capabilities for adoption of this hardware in the demanding engineering markets.

The full lightweight and fast modeling capabilities of HOOPS Exchange are available for use, including B-Rep interrogation, exact measurements, point cloud projections, section computation and much more.

Developer Can Go At It

Now anyone can have all the functionality needed to create a high-powered 3D viewer with full, powerful interrogation functionality on a mobile device with the ability to load CAD data without pre-processing.

To read more information about the technical details of this Service Pack, visit the Developer Zone. To become a Tech Soft 3D developer partner and get access to the release notes, apply here for an evaluation.

About Tech Soft 3D

Tech Soft 3D is the leading global provider of development tools that help software teams deliver successful applications, as well as the creator of the PRC format that is part of the PDF standard. Established in 1996 and headquartered in Bend, Oregon, Tech Soft 3D also has offices in California, Ohio, France, England and Japan. The company’s toolkit products power nearly 500 unique applications running on hundreds of millions of computers worldwide, while the Tetra4D brand of end-user products are used by many of the top manufacturing and construction firms for converting CAD data into 3D PDF. For more information, visit and



  1. This latest Exchange support for iOS and Android has been available since 30 Nov 2016.


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