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File Exchange Alert: Your Help Is Needed!


Collaboration on software can be a lot of fun, but it can also be hard to motivate.

For instance, you may be working on a project and you’d love some help, but you can’t get anyone else excited about your Interactive Polhode-Herpolhode Animator. Alternatively, you may be willing to help with somebody else’s project, but how do you find something that’s interesting to you and simultaneously needs and wants your help? Because if you’re going to spend time hacking code, you want to make sure somebody actually cares.

Well, this is your lucky day: I have solved that problem for you.

I have a project that is both intensely interesting and extraordinarily useful. It only needs a little help from you to realize its full potential.

The project is Export figure to 3D interactive PDF by Ioannis Filippidis (MATLAB Central, GitHub, CalTech). It lets you export a MATLAB figure to a U3D file. Or you can generate the same figure directly in a PDF file. Adobe Reader lets you drag it around like this. Try it yourself with this example file (PDF) or just look at the animation below. Pretty neat, eh?

3d interactive PDF

If you look at the comments, you’ll see a lot of people really like it. But you can also see that it suffers from a few compatibility problems. Ioannis is a busy guy, and he says more than once that you are welcome to fork the GitHub repo and send him a pull request.

So Ioannis is ready for you to help out. Beyond this, I have recently learned from Andreas Goser of the German MathWorks office that a team at Volkswagen makes extensive use of this file. According to Andreas, “the app is not yet running on R2014b and higher and [they] contacted the author who said he had no time yet to port it to new MathWorks graphics.”

So there you have it. A cool project, a supportive author, a waiting audience. You’ll fill your brain with new skills and your heart with the gratitude and admiration of your peers.


The project is linked to from the File Exchange, but it lives on GitHub. Time to get busy!


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