What’s new at SolidWorks?

By Matthew

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, so rather than try to think up something interesting to talkabout, I thought it might make sense to write up a quick recap of what’s been going on here at SolidWorks over the past month or so.

The biggest news is that in late April, we delivered our one-millionth license of SolidWorks software to Ogio International. This is a major milestone for SolidWorks, and one that we’ve been celebrating for a few weeks now. If you haven’t already, visit the SolidWorks site to play our trivia game (it’s quite silly) and hear messages of thanks from CEO Jeff Ray and found Jon Hirschtick.

Our European readers may be interested to learn that we rolled out the Engineering Stimulus Package to Europe last week. If you’re not familiar with the Package, you can read this post, or visit the ESP section on our website. At last check, a few hundred people had already downloaded the package. While we wish this wasn’t necessary, we hope that displaced engineers and designers can use the opportunity to build new skills, or hone existing ones.

We’ve also rolled out a new website for our SolidWorks Premium package of software. You can find out how Premium can make you more productive, but more importantly, there are some pretty funny videos on there. If we were to ever advertise on TV, my vote would go to the coffee video. I even shot the footage of product manager Shaun Murphy. Go me!

Most recently, we announced that from here on, we’re going to start supporting the release of SolidWorks one version back for an additional 12 months. What this means is that SolidWorks 2008 (released in September 2007) will be supported through December 2009, three months after SolidWorks 2010 is released. SolidWorks 2009 will be supported through December 2010, SolidWorks 2010 will be supported through December 2011, and so on. This is the opposite of what we’ve seen happening in the industry lately, and we hope that it will help our customers feel more secure if they need to stay on the previous version of SolidWorks for whatever reason. Check the SolidWorks blog for more news on this in the coming days.

So that’s it for now. I promise that next time I write, I’ll have something more thought provoking to talk about. Like maybe 3D dream recording devices, or virtual scuba diving trips…

Proudly Invented Elsewhere

By Rosemary

I lead the business development and strategy for the CPG industry at Dassault Systems and I’m a new blogger to the site. I see this as an opportunity to exchange ideas and I welcome your input. Obviously you can respond directly on the blog or also feel free to e-mail me at rosemary.grabowksi@3ds.com. Here goes:

Recently I participated in the Marcus Evans Open Innovation Conference. I was impressed by several thought-provoking CPG company leaders as they shared their challenges and successes in their attempts to infuse open innovation into their organizations.

So what exactly is open innovation? Wikipedia describes it as follows:

The central idea behind open innovation is that in a world of widely distributed knowledge, companies cannot afford to rely entirely on their own research but should instead buy or license processes or inventions (e.g. patents) from other companies. In addition, internal inventions not being used in a firm’s business should be taken outside the company (e.g., through licensing, joint ventures spin-offs).

The globalization of business, combined with an international economic downturn, has created both an opportunistic and, at the same time, a difficult environment for consumer packaged goods companies. One way out may be to attract, commercialize and leverage IP generated outside your organization. More executives will begin to lead change in their organizations toward a more open way in which to innovate.

A phrase becoming much more popular is “proudly invented elsewhere”, leveraging intellectual property derived outside of your organization but commercialized by you. This leading trend will contribute to better, faster, smarter innovation, even in a global and challenging economy.

So where is your company on this journey toward a more open environment? What have you tried? What worked well? What failed? How do you capture these learnings for future application?



P.S. If you’re into open innovation, you may enjoy these blogs focused on the subject:

  • OpenInnovation Blog founder Alexander Schroll is working on a PhD about it.
  • Innovation.net Blog on entrepreneurial approaches to innovation by Mike Docherty.

Related post: What did you consume today?

Equipping Our VR Future

By Kate

Photo credits: Laval Virtual 2009 / Jean-Charles Druais

As part of our virtual reality series I’ve blogged about software and applications, so I figured it’s time to tackle equipment. I sort of crashed the French Association of Virtual Reality’s meeting held this time Dassault Systèmes Campus, and David Nahon (read his VR interview here) kindly introduced me to Christophe Chartier. Christophe works on the VR equipment side as president for Immersion and has been active in the virtual reality market for quite awhile.

Here’s what I asked Christophe:

  1. How do you think VR equipment for everyday people (home usage) will evolve?
  2. What’s the future of VR equipment and what’s the next innovation?
  3. What work are you doing with multi-touch computing and VR tactile interfaces?
  4. What’s the future of virtual reality? (I’m asking several people this one so we can compare notes.)

Christophe Chartier

Following the interview I’ve included a video of Immersion’s Cubtile 3D multitouch device.

Q1: How do you think VR equipment for everyday people (home usage) will evolve?

If we want the development of VR equipment to be really mainstream the technology must be transparent. So forget set-ups including specialized gloves and headsets, which are today’s emblems of virtual reality equipment. In my opinion they won’t permit the mass deployment of VR technology. The set-up should integrate with the home environment, and for this we need equipment that’s more and more intelligent. Perhaps we’re talking more about augmented reality permitting us to enrich our homes.

This could be transparent surfaces where information superimposes itself. I think this sort of technology will help enrich daily living and improve our everyday lives. It could make access to complex information simpler, or to make it simpler to collaborate within the family whether it’s with members in the same home or far away, and also with services from a distance.

Q2: What’s the future of VR equipment and what’s the next innovation?

Multi-touch is a part of the revolution I think. It gives a surface the capacity to anticipate an action or a need and I think it’s the kind of thing that’s going to be the most accessible in the home, creating a space in the home where people can gather and share information. And it can at the same time be used to manage your household. So the multi-touch, at least a multi-point collaborative surface, will perhaps be the quickest to integrate in homes. Today this sort of thing is prototyped, but the innovation will be in price and accessibility. Although we’re starting to see companies use the technology, it needs to be less expensive and simpler to use to become accessible for the masses.

Q3: Tell me about the work you’re doing with multi-touch computing and VR tactile interfaces.

The multi-touch project is part of an internal research and development project at Immersion. The project is called iliGHT and the objective is to define products and describe usages in the domain of collaborative multi-touch interfaces. One of the first products to come out of this research is a table, a surface, permitting several people to interact collaboratively with 3D information.

The iliGHT table consists of an object that physically resembles a table, with a rear projection and a capacity to detect information and movement from the hand, thumb and fingers. The algorithms we use allow us to go pretty far in the segmentation of hand information. We can fully enter into collaboration around cases based in virtual reality. For starters, you can manipulate graphic portfolios, enlarge images, share and discuss them. Going beyond this, you can manipulate 3D objects.

Q4: What’s the future of virtual reality?

Omnipresence when it comes to designing products. Virtual reality is the missing link to reduce costs, to better understand manufacturing, to design better. We’ve been on the market for 15 years, and we’re feeling the demand accelerating. For me the evolution is that there will be a VR set-up in every product conception chain, permitting people to validate concepts and understand better.

Merci Christophe! ;-)

I got the chance to see Christophe again at Laval Virtual and actually play with Cubtile, another one of Immersion’s inventions. Check it out in this video (it’s worth watching through to the augmented reality bit).

YouTube Preview Image

How’d you like to have one of those at home?



Related posts:

Virtual Reality Series: Interviews & I Spy

Live from Laval Virtual Day 1: R-Screen

Day 2 @ Laval Virtual = Fire

Day 3 @ Laval Virtual: Ergo Wide 3

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