3DVIA Mobile 1.1: What’s Better

By Kate

Hi there,

I just met with Gerald so he could show me 3DVIA Mobile 1.1.  There are a couple of nice new features I like and hope you’ll enjoy.

For example, you can email your 3D mashup to folks directly from 3DVIA Mobile.

Or, when you import a 3D model into your photo, no matter the lighting of the photo, dark, bright or anything in between, the lighting of the 3D model automatically adjusts.  Yes, we have perfect lighting, Mesdames, Messieurs.

And here’s one for the digitally challenged: if you’re not multi-touch fluent, i.e. you can’t easily command an object’s size and placement with two fingers, in one click you can access zoom, pan and rotate buttons to help you.

Flying plane

So that’s what I-the-amateur like best.  But here are a few things Gerald-the-expert prefers:

  • Full screen 3D display for a more immersive experience
  • iPhone 3GS supports models with 100,000 triangles for more complexity and definition
  • You can levitate objects, which is very useful to make airplanes fly in your living room!

You like?

There’s more of course, but you didn’t think I’d tell you everything, did you?  ;-)

Go get 3DVIA Mobile 1.1 and discover the rest by using it!  It’s a FREE upgrade for those already sporting 3DVIA Mobile.

And for newbies, it’ll cost ya a whopping $1.99, although sorry, no set of knives with that.



Why Are My Street Lights Off?

By Tim

candlelight2My first thought was the lights were out due to a storm, an accident, or a fire. But there was no evidence of any such calamity. Then I remembered that, to save money, my town of Plainville, Massachusetts was planning to turn-off the street lights. Apparently, tonight was the night for a majority of the lights to be turned-off. The town’s action reminded me of mother always saying, “Shut off the lights, you’re causing our electricity bill to get out of control”.

As a kid – I thought electricity was magic and endless, and I certainly thought it was free! I finally realized that electricity was not free when I received the first bill that I had to pay on my own.  Electricity is so pervasive, especially in developed countries, that most of us take it for granted, and maybe just a bit magical, until we find our streetlights turned off, or experience a multi-day power outage like I did after the Loma Prieta earthquake in California in 1989 and again in 2003 during the major Northeast blackout.

Electricity, as most of us know, is produced in a variety of ways. While Nuclear generated power gets a lot of attention, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, it only produces about 20 percent of the electricity in the United States. More than half of the U.S. electricity comes from burning coal. The remainder is produced through hydroelectric, or natural gas and even smaller amounts are created by wind and solar power systems.

Energy discussions can quickly devolve into controversy. I plan to leave the eco-political debates to others and focus a series of blog posts on the innovative use of realistic simulation to improve the efficiency and safety of energy creation and exploration.

Ensuring Nuclear Power Safety

From the onset of the civilian nuclear power era, there has been a strong awareness of the importance of safety. Originally designed for 30- to 40-year operating lives, the systems, structures, and components of nuclear plants  simply wear out, corrode, or degrade. Identifying and correcting such issues can extend the operating license of a plant by several decades, which is why the upgrading of older facilities is now a major focus of nuclear regulatory bodies and plant operators.

Wolfgang Hienstorfer, TÜV

Wolfgang Hienstorfer, TÜV

Recently, my team had the privilege of interviewing Wolfgang Hienstorfer, head of the department of structural analysis at TÜV SÜD ET, a leading global technical service corporation, located in Filderstadt, Germany.  “The structural integrity and operational management of nuclear facilities must be secured far into the future — whatever the type or age of the plant’,” stated Mr. Heinstorfer”. His team at TÜV independently tests, inspects, and certifies nuclear facilities for licensing by the German government.

To assist in the accurate evaluation of nuclear plant systems, structures and components, the group employs Abaqus finite element analysis (FEA) software from SIMULIA.  

Pressurized thermal shock analysis of a reactor pressure vessel

Pressurized thermal shock analysis of a reactor pressure vessel

Abaqus eanables the engineers to analyze stress loads over a wide range of scenarios such as rapidtemperature and/or pressure changes, earthquakes, and radiation embrittlement. The software analyzes everything from key mechanical components —including pumps, piping systems, vessels, supports, and tanks — to fuel assemblies, building structures, and lifting devices such as cranes.

Hienstorfer sees FEA as having an integral role to play in both operational evaluation and ongoing monitoring of nuclear facilities to assist in complying with regulations. “We depend on FEA for computer modeling and virtual testing of reactor pipelines, vessels, and materials under extremes of stress and time,” he says.  “It definitely provides guidance to engineers to build both safety and longevity into their nuclear power plant designs.”

Read the complete TUV case study online at Power Magazine or you can download a PDF of the story from SIMULIA’s INSIGHT Magazine.

Do you think engineers can continue to make Nuclear Energy safe?

What do you think of my town’s decision to save money by turning off the streetlights? (Maybe they should have positioned it as a ‘Green Initiative’?).

Check back soon or subscribe to 3D Perspectives for additional posts on Energy and Realistic Simulation.

Enjoy the magjic of electricity,


Virtual World Concepts for CPG

By Vincent

Over the coming weeks this blog series will explore the benefits and challenges of applying virtual world concepts and technologies to CPG business processes.  Part I introduces us to virtual world concepts and how they can be leveraged in a 3D shopping experience.  Part II looks at the benefits of using virtual world settings like Second Life for design collaboration and consumer interaction.  And Part III examines the practical challenges of using virtual world concepts and technologies in our day-to-day business operations.

Part I – Virtual World Concepts for CPG: 3D Shopping

Residency in virtual worlds has grown exponentially over the past several years, spurred predominantly by gamers and avatar-based role players.  Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs for short) like World of Warcraft and multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs) like Second Life are largely responsible for this explosion in popularity.  It is estimated that there are nearly 580 million people worldwide registered as users in virtual worlds today, and that number is expected to break the 600 million user threshold before the end of 2009.

The success of MMORPGs and MUVEs begs the question: can Consumer Packaged Goods companies leverage best practices from the virtual world to improve internal operations and better connect with customers?

Perhaps not from a purely literal standpoint (e.g., I don’t envision much use for a first-person shooter experience in many CPG business processes!).  But if we look instead at the underlying concepts and technologies used in successful MMORPGs and MUVEs, we begin to see opportunities to apply practices from these virtual worlds to our very real, bottom-line driven world. For example, we can apply the first-person point of view (POV) metaphor popularized in MMORPGs to the experience of a shopper moving through a 3D virtual retail environment.

Imagine you are a shopper walking behind your cart down a personal care aisle in a grocery store.  You turn your head right and left to see the hair care products positioned on the shelves and display units as you move down the aisle.  A particular item catches your eye.  You stop, turn to directly face the shelf where the item sits, and take a closer look at the item, noting how the lighting and shadows converge on the package, and how it looks compared to the items near it.  You note the price associated with the item and those around it.

Next you reach for the product, take it off the shelf, and examine it more closely.  You turn the package from front to side to back, establishing an emotional connection with the product based on the imagery and packaging material choices.  You note again how the lighting plays off the package as you turn it.  You read the claims, ingredient statement, and other copy.  You decide you want to buy the item so you place it in your cart.  You move to the next aisle…

Now imagine the entire experience happened in virtual reality.  And that every action that took place in that sequence – your movement through the store aisles, the movement of your eyes as they scanned the shelves, the choice to pick up and interact with certain products, the experience of the packaging, the decision to place items in your basket – was tracked and stored in a database for future analysis.  Furthermore, several of the products you interacted with in the shopping experience are just early-stage concepts – many months from being actually produced in a manufacturing setting, if at all.

This is an example of how the first person POV paradigm used so successfully in virtual worlds can be leveraged to improve our CPG practices.  The rich data collected in these virtual shopping excursions can be used to enhance our market research efforts around such things as shopper basket analysis, promotion planning, store layout, category management and planograming, and early stage product concept testing.

Beyond the inherent value of the data itself, we are able to collect it without having to create a single physical prototype – be it a retail store or the products housed in it – which saves us a tremendous amount of capital investment.  All we need is a workstation and some consumers willing to play the role of the virtual shopper.  Additionally, we are able to test product concepts very early in the NPDI process, allowing us to eliminate bad ideas earlier from our pipeline and instead focus our resources on winning product concepts.

So now let me ask you: are there other ways we can apply the first person POV metaphor popularized in virtual worlds to enhance our CPG practices?



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