Tom Dixon and Dassault Systèmes swYm Conference

By Kate

Tom Dixon at swym conference

“I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.”

– Blaise Pascal in Provincial Letters: Letter XVI

During this year’s Milan Furniture Fair, I got to meet Virtual Tom, aka designer Tom Dixon’s 3D twin. 

Today at Dassault Systèmes’ swYm conference (formally called Devcon), I got to meet the real person. 

While there are a few memorable geeky nuggets I’d like to dig down on in later posts, I’d like serve up a dosage of Tom-chat.  Sitting outside on the ivy-lined steps of DS Campus, Tom shared his thoughts on 3D and design, plus a glimmer of what he’d like to do for next year’s Milan fair.

“I like opposites, so juxtaposing what’s happening in 3D and online with something real is interesting.”  Tom

Tom’s goal is to make things simple, and “just because you can do lots of complex things with technology and design doesn’t mean that you should.” 

This reminded me of Oblong’s “you are the interface” and the ultimate goals to technology.  We shouldn’t feel the complexity in what’s happening with our 3D, VR or other techno; we should just be enjoying the experience without having to think about the how-to.  Much like we enjoy exquisite French meals.  If you get heady about it, the magic dies.  And if you get too complex in your recipes and presentation, you lose your Michelin star.  

But this is harder to accomplish than you may think.  You see this movement in the PLM space as Kurt Chen pointed out.  Users want simple interfaces and powerful results.  But I’m digressing. 


One of the projects you may see developing from our partnership with Tom Dixon is a design contest for SolidWorks users whereby the winning design would be fabricated live at next year’s Milan Furniture Fair.  Tom, I’m rooting for you on this one, and BTW, if my boss is reading this, how about a ticket to Milan for some live blogging?  ;-)

If you happen to be at swYm, like Tom you may enjoy playing with the “toys” as he called them available on our partner stands.  Think haptic VR.  Tom’s thinking about it in a design context.

Off to some afternoon sessions.  If you’re around, please ping me so I can say hi live.  Otherwise, anything particular you’d like me to cover during the conference? 



Who are the Robot Whisperers?

By Marc

Robot Whisperers Inset 2They’re just two ordinary guys – with extraordinary passion for robotics and exceptional knowledge in using highly advanced 3D robotic simulation and programming tools.

No, they don’t actually talk to the robots…because robots don’t have ears! And while they don’t teach them tricks or get them to fetch their slippers, they do consider robots to be a production man’s best friend.

People often ask the Robot Whisperers, “are there robot problems you can’t solve?”  Well, they definitely have the expertise and are ready for any challenge. This is because the Robot Whisperers do understand the everyday challenges companies may be facing like lengthy launch times, devastating robot collisions and disastrous downtimes.

And for the first time they’re sharing their extensive know-how in a new on-line e-series called “The Robot Whisperers.”

“Have you ever bolted a robot to the floor that couldn’t reach its pick-up point?”

Engineers often spend several months planning and designing workcells with either 2D layouts or with physical mockups to later realize that related resources need to be repositioned or adjusted later in production. They face even greater challenges in properly teaching and programming robots to correctly perform required operations on the real factory floor.

“Have you ever had to buy additional material because you found out your robot placements are way off…more than once?”

We all know that any production line is only as good as it is designed and the robots can only perform as well as they are programmed. You can’t just sit down with a robot and have a conversation over a nice cup of coffee or have them attend a training session, like a new coworker who needs to learn how to perform their job.

“Do you have a production workcell that just doesn’t flow right?”

So, whether you work for a global manufacturing enterprise or a family- owned machine builder, in order for you to be successful and cost effective, it is critical to have your robots and tooling validated well before your cell or line is even built. You need the right innovative 3D technology to help you realize your robot’s true potential and open the door to high-precision manufacturing.

In their new online series the Robot Whisperers will reveal secrets about how successful companies use advanced 3D technology to address the many challenges they are faced with today. Viewers will discover how engineers from small manufacturers to large global OEMs can use sophisticated simulation software to improve their relationship with the robots in their lives.  Because we all know, “a well-programmed robot is a productive robot.”

So who are the Robot Whisperers? Well, that is one secret I am are not ready to share – just yet.

I invite you to pre-register today so that you can be the first to find out their identities and learn their secrets as you watch the premiere episode on June 29th.

The Robot Whisperers are here to share their knowledge and help you build a better working relationship with your robots.

Happy (robot) programming!


MarcMarc Rakowski works for Dassault Systèmes Americas Corp.

Your 3D Photo is Nothing New

By Kate


I’m blogging from a hidden part of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the underground Giza Archives office.  Sitting around the table is a lot of Giza expertise and passion:  Peter Manuelian, Rus Gant, Jean-Pierre Houdin, two Egyptologist PhD students finishing their dissertations (Nick Picardo and Rachel Aronin), plus the Dassault Systèmes Giza 3D team (Karine, Emmanuel, Fabien, Pierre and Mehdi).  I wish you were here to eavesdrop on the conversation.  And pinch me.

We’ve been going nonstop since landing in Boston, so if I’m going to publish a post, it’s got to be during this meeting.  I may slip in some quotes in between this article so we don’t miss anything going on in parallel.


“So how many priests do you think were in the pyramid on the funeral day?” Peter

Ok I’m going to try to double dip the meeting and blog about today’s topic:  3D Photography.

This morning we went to Harvard’s geology department facilities to test some pretty special content on their immersive curved stereoscopic screen.  Three-dimensional photos of the Giza plateau may not seem exotic to you.  But what if I told you they are photos that were taken over 100 years ago!  In 3D.  Over 100 years ago!

Rus, who has been practicing 3D photography since the 1950s, explained to us that the history of 3D photography began in the 1840s, only a few months after the invention of 2D photography.  The concept of three-dimensional images precedes the invention of 3D photography by 30 years during Napoleon’s time. 

So you think you’re cutting edge with your new 3D camera or TV?  NOT!

What drove the 3D photography industry back in the day was what Rus called Parlor Tourism.  Imagine you’re a wealthy society lady and have the opportunity to invite your tea time buddies over for a special 3D photography viewing of The Great Pyramids.  Oh my, how exotic, Evelyn! 

stereo camera

 Between the years 1840 and 1910, MILLIONS of these 3D photos were taken.  Rus, who’s in charge of the The Giza Archives Project’s visualization and technological elements, is starting by looking through a mere thousand.  And this morning we saw his top picks.

What makes a top pick and why is this relevant to Giza 3D?  Giza changes all the time.  There are many mysteries that remain to be solved.  And clues from the past, whether they are the position of rocks, or passage ways that have since been covered by modern construction, are new elements to the Giza puzzle. 

Now imagine going to Giza and taking the same 1840-1910 three-dimensional photographs . . . from the exact same places and angles.  And then imagine merging the old with the new so you can see the evolution in an artistic historic mash-up. 

I won’t go on because there’s a lot more to say.  Stay tuned for another episode soon.  

“There is something very strange also.” Jean-Pierre Houdin

I will say that I’m now ready to go back to school.  Yah think Hahvahd would accept me?  Egypt is calling . . .



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