Solar Roads to Form an Energy Grid?

By Remi
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green plm 3D road scott brusaw 3DS dassault systèmes

Hey guys!

Happy St Patrick’s Day!! Hope you celebrate it and have fun! I thought that since people are supposed to wear green clothes, this blog would also turn green! So at least for today I’ll blog about green innovation and what are the applications of 3D to help the planet and its people… :)

I came across a video that introduces a not-so-crazy concept to deliver green energy in a massive amount and fairly logical way. Scott Brusaw, the guy behind this, came up with the idea that roads were environmentally inneficient and that they should pay for themselves. Now that is out of the box right?

He thinks that roads could be improved to sort of glass ones, with solar panels inside to absorb the sun’s energy. And since they lead to our cities, houses, cinemas, gig venues, etc. they would then provide the amount of energy needed, thus paying back what they initially cost. This would turn into some kind of grid providing energy.

There are obviously numerous issues to overcome beforehand like the strength of the glass surface or the transparency – will sun beams go through the surface? Will they reflect into drivers’ eyes? Etc.

But let’s not spoil the fun, here is the video!

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Tell me what you think guys! It’s pretty amazing and I am sure there is a way to help this project with 3D and lifelike PLM… would it be feasible? Is it one of these ideas that just can’t work? I’m personally sure it can work, it feels logical to me… tell me what you think!

Thanks for reading! ;)


Design School Interview #2: Interaction Design Degree

By Charles
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This second episode is an interview with Grégoire Cliquet, the course leader for Interaction Design at the Nantes Atlantique School of Design. After the student, the master speaks…

Grégoire, could you please introduce yourself?

I teach Real-time Interactive 3D  at the Ecole de Design Nantes Atlantique and for 7 years have been in charge of the school’s Interaction Design cursus.  Soon I will become the head of the “READI” laboratory for applied experimental research in interaction design at the school.

What is “Interaction Design” and what do you teach your students?

The five-year Masters cursus is divided into two cycles.

The first cycle is an undergraduate program that teaches the fundamentals of interaction design. It aims at developing our students’ creativity. It also helps them develop techniques related to graphical representation (2D/3D), computing skills through learning Web Standards (XHTML/CSS/JS/PHP), and software such as Proce55ing, Flash/Flex and 3DVIA Virtools.

We also teach students how to manage from start to finish interaction design projects by involving them in real projects with IT companies. They practice the design process under real conditions, from understanding the demand and generating creative concepts, to making functional prototypes that embody design concepts.

The second cycle of the program is divided into seven areas dealing with contemporary social and economic issues. I will cite just two of them:

  • “Tangible Interfaces” centers on new interaction modes  with information systems, ambient intelligence and ubiquitous computing.
  • “Virtual Reality” is about designing innovative virtual and augmented reality interfaces and services.

What profile should a student have to enter this school?

The prerequisite to our design curriculum is a baccalaureate (French equivalent to A-levels or high school diploma) and applicants have to pass writing and creativity tests, followed by an individual interview to assess their motivation.

Can you describe the typical or atypical career of graduates from your school?   

Many interaction students now hold a position in the research and development departments of various companies. For example:

  • Frantz Lasorne works on new means of interaction for Ubisoft.
  • Nicolas Guyon works for Lego on “new gaming” projects.
  • Pierrick Thebault is finishing a thesis for Bell Labs.

About 90 percent of our students get jobs during the first month following their diploma.

Why did you choose 3DVIA Virtools to develop virtual projects?

Virtools covers a wide range of needs from virtual reality (immersive environments), games and real time 3D applications to augmented and mixed reality projects. It integrates our software workflow, so students can reuse 3D models they made from 3dsMax.

For designers it offers different levels of programming. Visual Scripting language is designer-friendly and can be learned quickly, making prototyping 3D real-time interactive applications a relatively easy task. Students can therefore concentrate on their imagination and concepts.

What do you think about the future of 3D?

With stereoscopic and auto stereoscopic displays, 3D will become increasingly present in our day-to-day living as 3D images are erasing the borders between reality and virtuality.

Grégoire Cliquet, thank you for answering our questions.

You are welcome!

What do you think?  If you’re a student, does this inspire you on your professional path?

Does anyone have any thoughts as to how the Interaction Design profession will evolve?



Charles Bonnassieux works as Marketing Specialist for Dassault Systèmes

Digital Spot Welding and Car Safety

By Therese
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Safety first. You hear it quite often because it’s on people’s minds. It’s also important for car manufacturers, and many brag about their vehicles’ safety in television ads. So like many others, when I went shopping for a car recently, safety was at the top of my list. But how do I judge how safe a car is?

I asked my local mechanically-inclined friends. Several criteria actually make a car safe, but I found out that the metal structure of a car is hugely important.

Take spot welds, for example. Sheet metal parts are often bonded together by applying pressure and high electrical currents at specific points called spot welds. This makes the joined parts stronger, safer, and more uniform in appearance.

Spot welds not only make a vehicle safer, but can also help in reducing rattles and road noises. I learned that spot welds are used throughout a vehicle – up to 5,000 spot welds in one car! Who knew?

That sounded pretty safe to me and looking for a vehicle with this amount of spot welding definitely impressed me. Since they are done early in the vehicle production, I had to trust that they were there. I found out that a good spot weld can’t easily been seen in the finished vehicle.

Feeling pretty confident in my new knowledge of spot welds and car safety, I pressed on with my purchasing research.

Okay, so 5,000 spot welds are good, but does it matter how the welds get there? Apparently it does.

Industrial robots are typically used to spot weld sheet metal parts together. The “old way” of programming spot welding robots is by hand on the factory floor, which interrupts automobile production.

The “new way” is to ensure the welding is accurate by programming the robots offline on a personal computer, all without stopping the production line. This reduces manufacturing costs, which keeps car prices down.

All of that means to me: a safer car without the high price. This was definitely worth the research.

Feel like taking a glance at how it works? Watch the video!  It shows our digital spot welding in action.

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Well, if you want to know the truth, safety was number two on my list of “must haves” in a car… The color red was first.

What’s at the top of your list?



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