Skip navigation

See how Elon Musk is building the 'Iron Man' lab with tech you can buy | The Verge

The workspace of the future is in Elon Musk’s lab. Using a variety of virtual reality and gesture-sensing tools, Musk has set up a system that allows himself and his engineers to design and manipulate models of rocket parts using just their hands. He's compared it to the Iron Man laboratory, and in many ways, it looks like just that.

But you won't need the technological expertise of Tony Stark in order to make one: Musk employs a Leap Motion Controller, an Oculus Rift, and a projector — among other common tools — in order to make the setup work. Not all of those are necessarily being used at once though. Musk says that he began with the Leap Motion, and then expanded to more advanced setups, such as one that involved projecting 3D mockups onto a translucent pane of glass.

While Musk admits that it's partially just "a fun way to interact with a complex model," he thinks that this new setup could mean far more than that. "I believe we're on the verge of a major breakthrough in design and manufacturing." Musk demonstrates how using the Leap he can fully move and rotate the model by just swiping, opening, and closing his hands.