Virtual Ergonomics Better Get Moving

By Therese


In my last post, The Ergonomics of Clumsiness, I wrote about how a waiter can mimic movements resonant of a production worker. Through structuring moves, avoiding collisions, precise timing, to name a few, there are indeed commonalities. In this blog I decided to take it a step further.

Could we simulate a worker—even a waiter—so he/she looks identical to the real thing?

How close can a simulated version of a human get to any one person?

Maybe it starts with realistic movement. Or body width and height. What about appropriate clothing or a uniform? I took this question to Dassault Systèmes Virtual Ergonomics expert, Julie Charland. No surprise the Montreal Virtual Ergonomics Team had already thought about it, in great detail.

Julie told me that other virtual ergo users would like to be able to show a representation that looks as real as possible. Once they have this, it’s easier to communicate to non-ergo experts. It’s kind of a “show me/prove it” mentality.

She said clothing has been around for awhile, so what users need now, is to see a virtual human manikin that looks more like, well, us—humans. The more realistic a virtual human is, the easier it is for others to see it as the real thing—be it a production worker, waiter, or whomever. Whatever that person does, the simulation version needs to move about exactly as a human would–fluidly with less cylindrical movements. Sure uniform helps, but now let’s see it move!

A full integration of this would be a huge plus, but can it be done? Julie did hint that the Montreal Virtual Ergonomics Team has been très busy with upgrading functionality for virtual ergonomics.

Would users really be able to visualize more if the virtual manikin had a familiar look and movements?

Hmmm….I wonder. Stay tuned for my next post to find out.



Therese SnowTherese Snow works for Dassault Systèmes DELMIA Corp.

Project 729 – Governance Unexpected

By Dan


Hello everybody,

Did you ever have one of those weeks where you had an unexpected project get dropped on you?  Of course these projects don’t just come with a tight deadline; they also come with vague requirements and expectations for high quality of work.  Maybe it has happened to you today already!  Well I had one of those ‘moments’ recently.  I call it Project 729.  Seven days to my daughters 9th birthday.

A little background.  My hobby is woodworking.  My daughter, Morgan, loves dolls.  Exactly one week before Morgan’s 9th birthday, my wife asked me how the bed is coming along.  I replied, “What bed?”  Since I had spent a little time in my shop lately, she said Morgan was convinced I was building her a bed for her 2 American Girl dolls.  I was told in no uncertain terms that she would be devastated if I didn’t come through with a handmade bed for her.

Where to start?  As with any project, you’ve got to gather requirements.  Functionally, two dolls had to be able to lie on the bed side-by-side, with a 2” thick mattress and a couple of small pillows.  I added some of my own details, such as making it sturdy enough so that she could stand on it (because she will), specifying it be made from native oak that was harvested from a tree in our yard, kid-proof it by rounding all edges and using non-toxic finishes, plus I decided it should be personalized with her name.  I outsourced the production of the mattress, pillows, sheets, pillowcases and comforter to my mother-in-law, thereby reducing risk of missing my deadline.  When looking at the skills and availability of my virtual team, resource management if you will, this was the obvious choice.

Next, I had to set up a project schedule.  Remember, I’m not just dealing with a deadline – it’s a birthday.  That date is not moving.  I knew I would need 3 days of finishing work at the end, so all the design and woodworking needed to be done within the next four days.  Some things could be done in parallel, but it was very important to identify what my critical path was going to be.  I sensed that the headboard would take a lot of time due to the extensive hand work involved – rasping, filing, sanding.  This is where I needed to focus my attention.

Things were going along as planned until a last minute design change, of course.  My wife thought it would be a “good idea” to add a strip of walnut on the footboard to tie in with the letters on the back.  Resisting the urge to fight scope creep, I quickly added the accent piece and completed the project in time.

As you can see, our everyday lives have a lot in common with our professional lives with respect to delivering projects.  The big difference is that projects at work tend to be far more complex, may be inter-related with other projects, or even be part of a much larger program. 

Governance, the domain associated with managing programs, resources, risk, requirements, portfolios and configurations, assuring quality and regulatory compliance, as well as the real-time reporting of status and deliverables associated with the tasks, is a critical function of what many of us do every day.   Yet it is surprising how little attention is sometimes paid to actively managing these processes.  In many instances, simple spreadsheets break down the work required, a document lists the requirements, e-mail serves as the communication backbone, and status is delivered at discrete, regularly scheduled meetings with generally suspect and out-of-date information.

Of course, there is a better way, and I’d like you to join me on journey to find the best path towards getting your projects and programs under control.  I would like to hear what you are up to and what your challenges are in this area.  I hope to be a regular contributor to 3D Perspectives on the domain of governance, keeping you informed of what DS and ENOVIA are up to.  Stay tuned!

Oh, one last thing.  Just when I thought the parallels between Project 729 and my work life were complete, my daughter introduced Product Portfolio Management into the mix – she wants a matching set of dressers for next year!



Dan Raun works for ENOVIA.

Exalead Acquisition Perspectives

By Kate

Acquisitions stir up all kinds of questions:

  • What does this mean for me the customer?
  • What are the people like who work for the new company?
  • What do the employees think about it?

So I whipped out my Flip and went to speak about these sorts of things with folks from Exalead and Dassault Systèmes.  Here’s a little video that gives you a flavor not only for their answers, but also a glimpse at the faces and emotion behind the acquisition. 

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To help you get more familiar with Exalead, what they do, and how this acquisition could translate for DS customers, I interviewed their VP of Business Development Morgan Zimmerman.  Enjoy!

Q1:  Exalead does a variety of things for very different user groups. What’s the best metaphor to understand Exalead as a single entity?

MZimmermanMZ:  Exalead represents the application of the best of the consumer Web to complex corporate legacy systems. It brings everything we’ve become accustomed to on the Web – real-time information, single text box access, natural language querying, a conversational mode of interacting with data, sub-second responsiveness, zero-training usage, etc., etc. – right into the enterprise.


Q2:  What’s your favorite Exalead product and why?

MZ:  That’s easy – we only have one product, Exalead Product! The same platform powers our public Web search engine, is embedded inside our OEM partners’ products, and supports our clients’ very diverse search-based applications.

However, I have to admit that I’m especially proud of some of our online deployments. The Web is the most demanding environment in terms of performance and innovation.  These include:

  • , which represents a 16-billion page implementation of our software and features a powerful Webcrawler, a panel of industrial grade semantics modules, and an innovative navigation experience;
  • Voxalead, which performs speech-to-text transcription on daily news videos from hundreds of online sources – it’s a technology the French Presidency recently incorporated in their redesigned website;
  • and the Urbanizer application we developed for Yellow Pages Canada. Urbanizer is the world’s first mood-based search engine for restaurants.  It’s available as an iPhone application.

Q3. What technical features excite your customers the most?

MZ:  It’s not the features that excite our clients; it’s the bottom line results. They’re blown away when they see performance and usability bottlenecks they’ve been struggling with for years simply dissolve away in a few weeks or a few months – even for the most complex environments.

Q4:  Why does the SBA market have such a bright future?

MZ:  The Internet has forever changed the game. Corporate users’ expectations for enterprise information systems have been permanently altered by users’ experience with the consumer Web. Only SBAs can meet these expectations and bridge the gap between the online and enterprise worlds. It is why search technologies are pivotal to developing the next generation of consumer-to-business applications.

Q5:  What type of ‘children’ do you wish for the Exalead-DS marriage to engender?

MZ:  Applications. Exalead has an infrastructure level information search and access technology. DS develops business applications. I’m looking forward to seeing a new generation of business applications come to life through the application of Exalead technology. And I’m excited to see what will happen when Exalead’s search technologies are combined with DS’s 3D technologies.

To Morgan, Laura, Christophe and Carole from Exalead, as well as Bruno, Laurent and Xavier from DS—merci beaucoup for having shared your perspectives! 

To all Exalead employees and customers, on behalf of the 3D Perspectives community, welcome to Dassault Systèmes!

And you, dear reader?  What do you think about the Exalead acquisition?



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