Gehry, CATIA and SolidWorks Strike Again: 8 Spruce Street

By Al

This past summer our CEO Bernard Charles and I had the pleasure of seeing our technology in action in New York City. Formerly known as The Beekman Tower, 8 Spruce Street was designed by the world-renowned architect Frank Gehry and is being developed by Forest City Ratner Corporation or FCRC (see the picture of us with the developer, Bruce Ratner). It is a 76 story skyscraper in lower Manhattan.

When 8 Spruce Street opens next year it will be the tallest residential structure in Manhattan, with sweeping 360 degree views of the city and the harbor. The project includes a public school on the lower floors plus offices and residential space above. The luxury apartments in this building will be some of the most exclusive in New York City.

A few weekends ago The New York Times ran an article on the front page of the Real Estate section entitle “New Gehry Tower Prepares for Renters”.

Gehry Technologies’ functional enhancements to CATIA have been used in its design and construction. The dramatic design of Frank Gehry could never had been realized without Dassault Systemes products.

Don’t take my word for it. Hear Frank Gehry talk about it for yourself  here.

The panels, each one unique, were built by Permasteelisa Group using SolidWorks. You can see in one picture that each panel is laid out in sequence to be put in place. Each is bar-coded to ensure its proper placement in the construction. CATIA was also used to place supports in place (see picture) during the construction. Each support must go from the external supporting structure through only windows and not interfere with the on-going structural construction.

At the end of our visit we stood inside a yet unfinished apartment on the 55th floor and talked with Bruce Ratner about our company and what we do. I demoed 3DVIA Mobile and placed a virtual table on the floor. The result is that FCRC is considering the possibly of using 3DVIA to help them market their apartments.

It made me very proud to experience this example of our products in action. This building will be well known by New Yorkers over time for its unique design and  amazing location in lower Manhattan, just a short walk from Wall Street. This was an exciting experience for me, and a living example of the difference that our products make!

If you’d like more details, here’s a good story on the engineering of the building. It includes references to CATIA and to Solidworks. Also discover Digital Project from CATIA.

What do you think?



Al Bunshaft is managing director for Dassault Systèmes Americas.

La Route du Rhum: Bon Vent Michel!

By Marc

Foncia has been the first IMOCA boat going out of Saint-Malo - photo (c) Windreport'/Team Foncia, used by permission

Today, October 31st, Michel Desjoyeaux and 84 other skippers will leave St Malo for Pointe-a-Pitre in the Caribbeans. According to the boat category, it will take them between 7 days (for the multihulls) and up to 20 days for the smaller boats to cover the 3543 nautical miles of  “la Route du Rhum – la Banque Postale“. But for all, it is a sprint race that will represent a physical and sporting challenge. Good luck to all and may the best one win!

As usually before a race, all the participants are present in the port of departure a few days before. At that occasion, I had the opportunity to meet the team and visit the real boat (that I had only seen virtually). I must say that the boat seemed very familiar to me (if it’s not familiar to you yet, then read this!) Ramping inside reminded me of the online experience I had done earlier. Besides that, I was impressed inside by the noise of the water hitting the boat. I can’t imagine what it must be like in the middle of the ocean. Although I could hardly hear what Michel was saying when I interviewed him, here is a quick question I was able to ask him before his departure.

YouTube Preview Image

The other part that impressed me the most is the number of boats registered for the race: 87 (85 finally participating). There are 3 main categories: Monohulls (55 boats, including Michel’s FONCIA 60 ft.), Multihulls (21 boats) and Catégorie Rhum (11 boats). Here is a picture of the multihulls which, by the way, will be competing for the first time against each other on this race.

The organizers expected over 1 million visitors at the sponsors’ village. The peak is the day of the departure with more than 700 boats following the different participants. Each category start separately. Michel Desjoyeaux and his boat will leave at 1pm on Sunday. This morning in the early hours, FONCIA has been the first IMOCA class boat to leave Saint-Malo harbour (see first post picture).  He is expected in Pointe-a-Pitre in about 12 days. We wish him all the best for this race and will be behind him all the way. As we say in such a situation , “bon vent”!

2PM, Paris Time Update: they’re gone! I can see the boats on France 3, French channel covering the race. I could see Michel on FONCIA several times. The boat seems to go quite well, it looks like a great white bird spreading its wings. I guess Michel is saying to himself  “ça tartine gentiment” (desperate translation attempt: ” it spreads mildly”).

FONCIA starts the Route du Rhum - photo (c) Foncia, used by permission

7:30PM, Paris time Update: FONCIA is second in the IMOCA category 0,4 mile behind Virbac Paprec 3 (Jean-Pierre Dick). Michel has made a pretty good start and is gently navigating at 10.5 knot  (currently the quickest IMOCA boat).

Stay tuned for more news about Michel’s race!

Marc PavageauMarc Pavageau, WW Online MarCom Manager

Immersive Virtual Reality and Visual Handicap

By Richard

Last week, I attended an event at Telecom ParisTech, one of France’s top engineering schools. The event gathered about 30 experts in medicine and engineering for a set of conferences and debates dealing with Smart and  Communicating Devices for Health and Handicap.

Smart Devices can help in several health domains, from remote diagnosis to re-education. Being able to perform remote medecine can be useful in secluded spots such as high-mountain while re-education can take benefit from serious gaming applications.

On another hand, smart devices can help revive classic objects such as a white stick for visually impaired people. Just add an Infra Red scanner or a laser scanner and you get a Smart Electronic White Stick. Usually, you must touch the obstacle with the stick to be able to avoid it, and that way you’re unable to detect obstacles above the ground such as low tree branches. With such scanners and the help of a suitable sound or vibrating alert, visually impaired people can detect and avoid obstacles much sooner and in a much more fluent way. Demo videos are amazing, with people able to detect narrow corridors, the infamous low tree branches or a set of closed columns and avoid them peacefully, nearly as well as a person with unimpaired vision.

Talking about visual handicap and serious games lead me to an application shown on the Arts & Métiers ParisTech booth, another French top school of Engineers. The application, called Sensivise, has been produced thanks in part to our Passion for Innovation Program (hey! what else? ;-))  with 3DVIA Virtools. The goal is very simple: help valid people to understand the drag of visual impairment.

Tubular Vision simulation in the Sensivise application (urban environment)

Tubular Vision simulation in the Sensivise application (urban environment)

People get immersed in an urban or a familiar domestic 3D interactive environment. At first, you navigate with your regular, usual valid sight. Then, a visual impairment is simulated and you must adjust your behavior accordingly.

Today, two simulations are available: the central scotoma and the tubular vision (or tunnel vision, or gun barrel vision), but other ones could be added later.  The names and pictures say enough about each of those visual impairments. You have to make your way in the city with them, cross a street, avoid a car getting out of a car park etc. Back home, you have to go to the kitchen pick up a milk bottle while avoiding the low table in the living room or to have a shower without hitting the bath tub.

Central Scotoma simulation in Sensivise

Central Scotoma simulation in the Sensivise application (domestic environment)

The application shown on Arts & Métiers ParisTech was on a laptop and presents the user with several challenges such as the ones described above. Serious games to help valid people to get in visually impaired people’s shoes, understand their burden and ease life together. When you have gone through this application, maybe you won’t arrange your flat the same way if you happen to live with a visually impaired person.

Though effective on a laptop, Sensivise shows its full power only in its immersive version, as shown in our LIVES (Lifelike Immersive Virtual Experience Space) where you are really immersed in interactive 3D with suitable glasses.

I had several opportunities to show this application in that context, once to a person affected with central scotoma. She told me it was quite realistic, the only glitch being that valid people tend to try and look aside the central macula, which visually impaired people can’t do (the macula “turns” with the eyes). Since then, I always tell people not to do that, but this feedback accounts for the power and relevance of immersive virtual reality.

Sensivise immersive version as shown in DS Campus LIVES

Sensivise immersive version as shown in DS Campus LIVES

A last word: most applications presented at Télécom Paris Tech claimed they used “Virtual Reality”.  Nope.  A plain graphic serious game is not VR, even with nice computer art. Only 3D immersion can do the trick. There’s still a long road ahead, but applications such as Sensivise are showing the way.

Keep 3D-ing!


Richard BreitnerRichard Breitner, Passion for Innovation Program Manager

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