Introducing Let’s Go Design, a new interactive video series from SolidWorks

By Matthew
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Back at SolidWorks World 2010, Jeremy Luchini, the brains behind the SolidWorks certification programs, announced that he would be hosting a new video series called Let’s Go Design. We’re happy to announce that the series is now live.

Over the course of the next year, Jeremy will be designing and building some new things from the ground up. But first, he’s looking for ideas from all of the designers out there. You can submit your ideas, vote on what Jeremy will build, and even have input into critical design decisions. If you want to get an idea of what this is all about, here’s Jeremy explaining what he’ll be doing.

So which project do you want to see Jeremy work on? All you have to do is visit and vote, then check back in later to see which one gets picked. You can even sign up for email alerts.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s go design!

I’m in Milan with Designer Tom Dixon, Virtually

By Kate
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fred at milan furniture fair1This morning Fred Vacher contacted me from the Milan Furniture Fair.  Where Fred is, 3D is, so I was curious to see what was in his zip attachment.

Seems Fred has been helping furniture designer Tom Dixon add some 3D and virtual to his stand.

If you’d like to check out Tom’s designs and stand virtually, and, hey, maybe even bump into Virtual Tom, try out his public 3DVIA Scenes for free.  I’ve embedded it further down in this post.

This is Fred and Tom.


This is a design in Tom’s new Industry collection.

Tom Dixon_Milan_Peg Chair

This is the same design in 3DVIA Scenes.

Tom Dixon-Virtual-Milan-Peg-Chair1

This is me broswing Tom’s collection virtually.


virtual milan 1*

Addendum: I received some feedback that the way I sized the embedded scene “Virtual Milan” limited the virtual experience, so to replace the embedded scene, I’ve added a hyperlink to the full deal on  Please click on the image above to visit the scene.

Some Virtual Milan tips from my maiden voyage:

  • Opt for the Virtual Tour (let’s you zoom into the collection bits without stumbling around)
  • Move one click at a time (will help you avoid wall collisions, etc.)
  • Use your mouse to click on designs you like (will give you model information; name, specs, etc.)

If Fred can stop drinking Italian espressos and admiring all that furniture design, I may have some more “live” footage for you.  (Sorry Fred; I’m just jealous you’re there and I’m not.)

So, do you like Tom’s new collection?  I like the Mirror Ball Lights the best.  Et vous?



P.S. Fred tells me Tom designs in SolidWorks and then imports to  Which, BTW, if you’re in the US or UK, you can download Tom’s models from, try, then buy.

P.P.S  I do NOT get a commission for any Tom Dixon models sold on  Darn!

The 3 Faces of Semiconductor

By Rick
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In her blog entry,  “Synopsys Likely to Roll up the EDA Sector” , Sramana Mitra does a great job in summarizing the current state of the EDA industry. She does a particularly nice job of reviewing the moves that Synopsys has made in taking the leadership position in the industry and how its competition have been developing their own strategies on where their companies (and the industry) should evolve. I had some thoughts that I wanted to share that bring a bit of a different perspective.


It’s interesting to think about where the EDA space is headed and how the rules of natural selection have gotten us to where we are today.  Sramana Mitra does a nice job in summarizing the current state for the EDA leaders. Others can better talk about technology or about how the startup companies made money for a lot of people in the past.

But I think that EDA needs to see that the semiconductor industry today really has three personalities:three-faces

  1. A technology industry driven by innovation and creating the “next cool thing” that will drive the latest products in many different industries. IC products provide the intelligence within the latest innovations across multiple markets; automotive/transportation, A&D, medical devices, consumer products and, of course, high-tech computers, communications and entertainment products.
  2. A manufacturing industry. It’s one of the world’s largest manufacturing segments and puts the latest technologies in the hands of consumers at commodity pricing.
  3. An emerging growth industry. Although it’s been around for generations, the IC domain is very dynamic. Both technology and manufacturing changes allow the market to reinvent itself and bring innovation to different end-user markets. As opposed to industries where there is a finite number of applications for their products, semiconductor companies continually opens doors in new markets.

EDA has been focused primarily on the first two of the semiconductor market personalities—addressing the technology needs of the design teams and the ability to help manufacturing continue to produce products at a nearly impossible scale with cost structures that make those products accessible.

But what did we see when the tough times rolled around?

The manufacturing “factory” personality became dominant. The technology teams were reduced to focus on core products and mandates were delivered to make those products more flexible so that they could have longer lifespans. On the manufacturing side, troubles brought a focus on the supply chain and bottom line, resulting in the common factory response of cut, reduce, eliminate.

What is required is someone that thinks of the market more holistically.

Leaders in this market have to not only be aware of the bottom line, but also be focused on creating new opportunities to grow the top line.  At some point, you can’t cut anymore—but you can always grow if you have the right vision. Companies that “emerge with advantage” from the downturn are those that are working closely with customers in new markets to grow their position, not just cut costs. Synopsys is a perfect example of a company that has a vision to grow its position through working closely with customers, being more critical in the design chain and increasing its offers to be ready for whatever need customers will have. I’ve seen the same with IC companies. While many have spent the past couple of years looking to cut costs, some were working on how to best work with their customers, enable sales and marketing to streamline new opportunities and better bring products to market. Those are the companies that you’ll be hearing good things about in the coming year.

I think this evolution will continue beyond what we know as EDA today and into a more encompassing product design and experience offering. In time, you will see the blending of EDA’s target semiconductor market both down deeper into manufacturing and up into the end market application.

When you design the “brain” (chip), you will also have to design the “body” (application product).

If semiconductors are replacing the steel and wires within transportation systems, doesn’t it make sense that the design of the products also change? Much of that change will start with how to work more closely with the customer, how to capture ideas, how to share the huge amount of information available and how to eliminate the proverbial walls over which each functional discipline has to “throw” their contributions.

EDA companies are already starting down that path today with common database formats (OpenAccess), product portfolios that encompass orders of magnitudes of more diverse offers in multi-domain design, behavioral modeling, embedded software content, simulation, predictive analysis, test, manufacturing preparation and packaging—and with consortia that brings together both design chain and supply chain partners.

EDA is still evolving. They have fire and the wheel. Imagine all that will come next.



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