#DDay, Innovation Day

By Aurelien

For the 70th Anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy, better known as D-Day, our Passion For Innovation Institute created a tribute to the engineers of the Normandy landings. To learn more about the back-story of this project, I sat down with Marie-Pierre Aulas, who worked on the D-Day project as the producer.

Q: How did you manage to find archived drawings for modeling the Normandy landings?

This was probably the most challenging part of the project! Let me share an anecdote; when we worked with the Royal Engineers Museum in London to pull from the archives of the Mulberry-B Harbour, we found that the index of the archive was lost! Until then, no one had tried to explore them since the end of WWII. Dealing with thousands of archive pieces without an index was extremely difficult, especially given the time constraints we had. So we chose to focus on the engineering details of the Mulberry-B, such as the anchors and mobile binding system of its floating roadway.

In other instances, we only had scans to work with, and some of them were of very bad quality and could barely be read at all.

Q: It seems that you worked with a lot of stakeholders!

As you can imagine, pieces of content found their way to many different places after WWII, ending up in the hands of museums as well as individuals and associations. So we worked with various museums, libraries and associations across the US, UK and France.  We actually found very valuable information from fan clubs thanks to very passionate people! Here are a couple examples:

We worked with the Challenge LCVP to model the Landing Craft, Vehicle & Personnel (LCVP):

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For the Waco CG-4A Glider, we worked with the Silent Wings Museum:

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And for modeling the Mulberry-B Harbour, we worked with the Royal Engineers Museum in London.

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Here is the complete list of museums and associations we worked with:

Q: What has been the impact of this project so far? What are the next steps?

The TV documentaries we contributed to were broadcast in the past weeks in the US (PBS: 5M audience), France (France3 TV channel: 3.1M audience, trending topic on Twitter)  and other countries. DVDs of these documentaries are also available, as well as a book in French, and an exhibition of 3D experiences in the Cité de la Mer museum in Cherbourg, France.

We’re also hosting an immersive virtual reality center on the Ouistreham beach with interactive 3D tables, a 3D cave, and Oculus Rift experiences.

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Beyond education for the general public, uncovering the archives and bringing them to life with virtual reality has helped with the awareness of the Normandy landings site; the Mulberry-B Harbour is now an official UNESCO World Heritage candidate.

You can see more of the recreations and the project on the Dassault Systemes’ D-Day site.

A Tribute to the Engineers of D-Day

By Suzanne

On May 28, PBS featured the documentary “D-Day’s Sunken Secrets” which includes and highlights work done by Dassault Systemes’ Passion for Innovation Institute. Earlier this month Dassault Systèmes, in association with WGBH Boston and the PBS science series NOVA recently hosted “A Tribute to the Engineering Minds of D-Day” at WGBH headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts not far from our headquarters in Waltham.  An audience of more than 200 dignitaries, veterans, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) leaders and educators attended the event to see and discuss key technological and engineering innovations  used during D-Day and the Invasion of Normandy. The innovations will be featured in the two-hour NOVA production in association with MC4, LCL, Dassault Systèmes and Canopee-CNDP.

As part of  this 70th anniversary of D-Day, Dassault Systèmes’ Passion for Innovation Institute embarked on an ambitious 3D reconstruction project to safeguard blueprints, notes and government documents capturing the remarkable engineering achievements of D-Day. To preserve this valuable moment in history,  Dassault Systèmes created scientific and accurate 3D models of the following  war innovations:

  • The Landing Craft, Vehicle & Personnel (LCVP) designed by American businessman Andrew Jackson Higgins which carried a platoon-sized CK complement of men and weapons to the beaches of Normandy.
  • The Waco CG-4A gliders relatively small, lightweight and maneuverable planes. These silent gliders landed troops in enemy territory during the early hours of the June 6 invasion.
  • The Mulberry Harbor one of the most extraordinary technological feats of WWII. An artificial harbor built in England, it was transported across the English Channel and assembled off the coast at Arromanches to unload the vast quantities of supplies and men that were needed for battle. The Mulberry Harbor was the first temporary deep water facility of its kind ever devised.

During the event the attendees got a “sneak peek” from producer Paula Apsell, Senior Executive Producer, NOVA & Director of the WGBH Science Unit, of highlights from the documentary showing how NOVA as it joins an elite team as they carry out the most extensive survey ever done of the seabed bordering the legendary D-Day beachheads of Normandy, revealing the ingenious technology that helped the Allies overcome the German defenses and ultimately liberate Europe from the Nazis.

Paul Apsell

After a welcome by Sara Larsen, VP North America  Marketing and Communications, the Dassault Systemes Passion for Innovation Team showed attendees a 3D presentation that brought to life through 3D reconstruction, the Mulberry Harbor.

Attendees at D-Day Event

As today, only pieces of the Harbor remain requiring the Dassault Systèmes team to compile what remained of the original plans from the Royal Engineers Museum in London, the construction and maintenance manuals, the aerial photographs taken at the time and additional information provided by Tim Beckett, the son of Mulberry Harbor designer Allan Beckett, himself a marine engineer. Mr. Beckett was a guest of the event and with Nicolas Serikoff of the Dassault Systemes Passion for innovation team narrated a trip through the accurate, scientific 3D reconstruction of the Harbor which enabled him to see and experience his father’s critical work.

Tim Beckett on the Mulberry Harbor

Following the video presentations Paula Apsell, hosted a lively Q&A with some key participants of the project:

  • Doug Hamilton, Director, NOVA’s “D-Day’s Sunken Secrets”
  • Mehdi Tayoubi, Passion for Innovation Institute Director & Experiential Strategy VP for Dassault Systèmes
  • Nicolas Serikoff, D-Day Project Manager, Passion for Innovation Institute, Dassault Systèmes
  • Tim Beckett, Director, Beckett Rankine Marine Engineers & Son of Major Allan Beckett of Britain’s WWII Engineers
  • Sylvain Pascaud, D-Day Expedition Leader

Panel at D-Day event

The audience was thoroughly engaged and if not for the refreshments ready to be served would have gone on for at least another half hour.

During the cocktail reception the attendees were able to get hands on experience with the 3D technology including the recreations of the Mulberry Harbor, Waco Glider and the Higgins LCVB. In its commitment to STEM education a number of attendees were invited to bring their middle and high school children to the event.

Using Z-Space at D-Day Event

D-Day event father daughter

While the technology was engaging even more engaging were the veterans of World War II who were there on D-Day who were invited to attend the event. These veterans were given the “Legion of Honor” award by the French Government, the highest military decoration in France:

  • Mr. Isadore Cutler
  • Mr. Edward Estey
  • Mr. Robert Haley
  • Mr. Richard Pinardi
  • Mr. William Poulios
  • Mr. Harvey Segal
  • Mr. S. Eliot Sklar

Attendees at D-Day Event

Several of the veterans posed with the team from Dassault  Systemes including from left Sara Larsen, Nicolas Serikoff, Marie-Pierre Aulas and Mehdi Tayoubi.

You can see more of the recreations and the project at the Dassault Systemes’ D-Day site.

 

What if Leonardo Da Vinci had 3DEXPERIENCE?

By Fred

Da Vinci Like buttonLast month was very active in the Da Vinci 3D Experiences community. We now have the 3 winners of the DaVinci 3D competition in partnership with HP, AMD, Scala Archives and the Clos Lucé castle. Overall, candidates built impressive, fully documented projects with great 3D designs and experiences. Congrats to all for the hard work and the passion to share!  :-)

The voting period now being over, the community elected the three following winners:

N°1: Nubevelo, the Vinci Wingsuit by Thibault WALTZER

DaVinci 3D competition WinnerAs a real innovation, Thibault decided to mix together two Da Vinci concepts: the Helix system combined with the Flying Machine in order to create the “Flying Pack”. Not only he reconstructed in 3D from the codex, but also he invented a new machine and designed it! Thibault is student at UTBM, Montbéliard France and learning mechanical engineering with ergonomic and design options. Read the whole Vinci wingsuit project story and see the photos & videos here. Thibault wins the HP Z Book and his model will be staged and displayed at the Clos Lucé Castle in France. Big up to Thibault!

N°2: DaVinci Scythe Chariot by Antonio CAMBEROS

Antonio from Mexico chose to design the Scythe Chariot in 3D. The idea was to comply with the Da Vinci codex while adding modern techniques in order to make it “real” and “working”. Read the whole article about the Scythe Chariot and see the photos & videos here. Antonio wins the AMD FirePro W7000 graphic card, congratulations Antonio!

DaVinci 3D competition 2nd winner

N°3: Leonardo Da Vinci Battleship by Alain DUGOUSSET

Alain, impressed by Leonardo ideas, concepts and paintings decided to model the Da Vinci Battleship. He made the complete detail design of the machine including all the interior mechanisms, canon guns and the generated the full kinematic. He even made the battleship in perspectives comparing it with a modern boat ! Read the whole article about the Da Vinci Battleship and see the photos & videos here. Alain wins the AMD FirePro W5000 graphic card, congratulations Alain!

DaVinci 3D competition 3d winner

Please encourage all of them by having a look to their posts and projects on the Da Vinci 3D Experiences Community, comments and feedback are welcome :-)

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