Tom Dixon and Dassault Systèmes swYm Conference

By Kate
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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
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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.

3DVIA for Operating Room Designs that Work

By Bernie
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I often say that I have the coolest job at Dassault Systèmes. That’s because I get to spend my days with our customers, learning about all the amazing ways they’re using our solutions to make the world a better place.

For example, have you ever thought about how hospital operating rooms get designed? Modern operating rooms are packed with equipment and people. Everything has to be close at hand without being in the way. The room must be easy to navigate, yet make effective use of space. Lighting must be perfect. And when the surgery is done, every surface – even the floor – must be accessible for effective sterilization.

Clearly, the architects who design the rooms and the equipment suppliers who outfit them need a lot of input from medical professionals to achieve a room that functions at peak efficiency. But medical professionals aren’t architects. They don’t have experience reading blueprints. They might get one chance in the course of an entire career to offer their input on an operating room design. And if they make a mistake, they might have to live with it for years.

Operating room equipment and systems supplier BERCHTOLD knows the challenges well.  Although it tried many approaches over the years, it never found an ideal solution for helping doctors and nurses picture the operating rooms they were helping to design – until it teamed up with EwingCole DMG, the 3D modeling and interactive applications division of a Philadelphia-based architectural and engineering firm.

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EwingCole DMG built a 3D operating room visualization environment for BERCHTOLD in 3DVIA Virtools. Virtools allows operating room personnel to “build” a virtual operating room in real-time in 3D and then move around the room just as they would during an operation to validate the room’s functionality. If they find a clash or an inconvenient placement, their BERCHTOLD sales rep can change it in a few clicks. And it all runs on the BERCHTOLD reps’ standard-issue laptops, so they can take it anywhere.

“We love it,” says John Mueller, architectural design supervisor for BERCHTOLD.

“The 3DVIA Virtools operating room visualization application helps our customers see what they’re trying to achieve much faster and with fewer design ‘mistakes,’ and it easily facilitates input from broad and diverse teams of hospital workers. It really helps people who aren’t architects visualize these rooms.”

Dave Buchhofer, technical director at EwingCole DMG, says 3D visualization is critical to designing operating rooms that work at peak efficiency.

“You see things in 3D that you’d never catch in 2D renderings. Using 3D models to do interference and clash detection makes the process more time- and cost-efficient.”

And with 3DVIA Virtools, EwingCole DMG can quickly and easily update the application each time BERCHTOLD adds new equipment to its offering.

Correcting poor choices on the laptop screen is quick, easy, and costs nothing. It also helps to ensure that all of a hospital’s resources go into building the best possible operating room – not correcting unrecognized issues after construction. That’s good for hospitals and for all of a hospital’s surgery patients. Just one more example of how 3DS solutions help to make the world a better place.

Where do you next expect 3D in the operating room?



Bernie Hearne works in Customer Referecing for Dassault Systèmes.

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