Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) and all around man of the future Elon Musk showed off the next generation rocket design lab his team is using at Space X. The Iron Man inspired design suite allows engineers at the private space company to view and manipulate their models in three dimensions without ever touching a mouse.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk has been compared to Tony Stark before, and Robert Downey Junior’s portrayal of the character is apparently based on the executive. With the look the Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) boss is giving into the design lab, it’s clear that he’s playing up to that particular comparison.

3D virtual reality modeling

The set up at Space X uses a Leap wireless motion controller along with special display technologies. Options for the display include the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset or a 3D projector. The Leap wireless controller allows Musk and his team of engineers to manipulate objects in what appears to them to be three dimensional space.

Musk believes that Space X is “on the verge of a major breakthrough in design and manufacturing.” From the video it is clear that engineers are able to turn and twist the 3d model, but there is no definite answer on whether the technology can actually be used to design rockets, or anything else, at this stage.

The technology is impressive and it may “revolutionize design and manufacturing” as Elon Musk predicts in the video about the technology. Whether or not the company will seek to license the software that allows design in three dimensions or not is impossible to say, as it may be more profitable to work on a complete product.

Elon Musk funding space exploration

Space exploration is an expensive business, and SpaceX still has a long way to go before it will be able to show investors an ability to make money. Just as much of the benefit of the Cold War space program was seen in the technologies created as a result, this new technology could open doors for SpaceX.

SpaceX is not a professional electronics company, but it might be able to license the design for a finished 3d modelling suite to another company, no doubt also run by Musk. SpaceX might be able to leverage its creations in order to further its goal of exploring space. Until then at least engineers at the company can pretend they’re Iron Man.