Xplorair: A New Mobility Concept

By Richard
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Xplorair PX200

Here is one of our current Passion for Innovation projects: Xplorair.

When I was approached about it, I immediately thought, “Wow! Here is The Fifth Element taxi!” That being said, it quickly became obvious that Xplorair was a solid project, lead by an experienced aero engineer named Michel Aguilar.

The candidate projects we favor most in Passion for Innovation must bring something new and exciting to the world. There was no doubt about the excitement Xplorair generated when I read the proposal. And as for innovation, well, I’ll let you decide for yourself:

The Xplorair is a vertical take-off and landing without rotative wing vehicle based on the Coanda effect.

What is the Coanda effect? To put it briefly, it’s the ability of a fluid flow (liquid or gas) to “stick” to a convex surface and to attract it. It has been studied by the engineer Henri Coanda, therefore its name. A simple demonstration of this effect can be done by holding a sheet of paper by one of its ends, with one hand on each corner of that end. Blow on the piece of paper while aiming your breath between your hands, and you will see the free end of the paper rise up.

Congratulations! You have shown that upper surface blowing creates a bearing strength. This is what Xplorair is based on. If you blow on a wing’s upper surface, you will take off. If the wing is in fact made of two articulated parts with the jet engine blowing somewhere in the middle, it’s enough to change the angle between the two wing parts to make the transition between vertical take-off, and regular, horizontal flight.

The Coanda effect has already been used on some aircrafts to bring additional bearing strength and reduce take-off distances. However, Xplorair is definitely a breakthrough as it is the FIRST aircraft entirely relying on this effect for BOTH take-off and flight.

To spice up the project, Xplorair will treat the subject of greener mobility. The engine– a brand new kind of engine called a thermoreactor– is a second technical breakthrough in its own right. It will use second generation biofuels (i.e. non threatening for food nor biodiversity), and some cabin elements, such as the control panel and seats, will be made out of agro-materials.

Xplorair will come in several versions (1, 2 or 4 seats). For starters we’re working to develop the monoseat version, the PX200 (for Personal Xplorair, 200 km/h).

The Xplorair team is using CATIA V5 as the 3D CAD software for design, SIMULIA and CAA-partner CD-Adapco solutions to simulate the vehicle in operation.

So, is Xplorair an airplane? a flying car? a flying motorbike? No matter what you call it, it’s a new mobility concept.

And who could give this concept a shape if not DS Design Studio? I’m happy to announce that we just started the ideation phase with Anne Asensio’s enthusiastic and creative team. They were already sketching during the meeting. ;-)

Stay tuned for more info about Xplorair in future 3D Perspectives blog posts.

Keep 3D-ing!



P.S. Unfortunately, neither Bruce Willis nor Milla Jovovich will be delivered with the final product, just in case you’re wondering . . .

Design = Emotion = Day 2 @ ECF

By Kate
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At today’s plenary session, CATIA CEO Jacques Leveille Nizerolle welcomed guests and turned over the show to Anne Asensio saying, “I told Anne that this is her day.”

Each presentation was fascinating, and I noted that almost everyone at some point repeated the same message: Design must be focused on humans, and the future of Design is customers doing the designing. I also heard a few times something along the lines of, “Creativity is individual, but innovation is collaborative.”

Anne told us that Design is emotional, and she certainly did a nice job of lining up some emotional treats. Her presentation started with a hip futuristic video, offering her team’s vision of tomorrow’s collaborative Design. I took a photo of it, which is pasted at the top of this post. I’m told DS Design Studio will post it on their new website soon (I wanted to get it to you for today, but they were busy in the dedicated Design track until late afternoon). Anyway, this is definitely worth a view, so I’ll let you know when it’s available online.

Anne also showed us a virtual simulation of real water pouring on a floor. Who knew our R&D department had been working on an algorithm for water? Anne explained, “This is about physical aspects of nature used within modelization.” Another wow.

Ayse Birsel of Bisel+Seck presented next. Her design studio is known for product design for companies such as Herman Miller and is also part of DS Design Studio’s ecosystem. Ayse spoke about how users are the new designers, and that now a designer’s role is to visualize the future. And in order to visualize the future, designers have to put the user in the center of their reflection process. She gave the example of designing a chair. You can design a chair without thinking about humans. You can design a chair for humans to sit on. You can design a chair for a tired human who’s been standing all day to sit on. Each chair will be very different. (I’m omitting the wow moment of Ayse’s presentation because I’d like to dig deeper and give you fuller details. More later.)

Next we heard from Andreas Riedmann, a design engineer in the R&D department of Otto Bock. In addition to bionic limbs, they make wow products like their hybrid wheelchair/paragolfer vehicle. What impressed me the most is that they’re developing thought-powered prostheses. Think connecting real human nerve endings directly to prosthetic hands, arms or other. No, think Will Smith in his film “i,robot”.

Ok, I give up. Wow.

And finally, well, who doesn’t say wow! when then learn about BMW’s GINA vehicle. Chris Bangle was “present” in the form on an optical theater special effect but managed to chat with Anne anyway while giving us a fascinating presentation on “The GINA Philosophy” and how the car came to be. We even got to see a video of GINA in all her behaviors. Check out GINA for yourself in this video I found on YouTube:

If you attended ECF, please jump in on the comments section. I’d love to hear your impressions about these speakers.



P.S. Andreas from Otto Bock told us he’s using CATIA Industrial Design software Imagine & Shape on an exciting hand prosthesis project. ‘Said it’s a lot easier to communicate with the designer this way. Click here to see a neat CATIA Imagine & Shape video.

Building the Design Foundation: Pillar 4

By Kate
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If you’re new to 3D Perspectives, we’ve been talking about Dassault Systèmes’ Design mission and getting to know the DS Design Studio. I’ve covered Design DNA, all sorts of spirals, and fun technology powering experience design. So now you’re ready to learn about the DS Design Studio’s fourth and last pillar.

Pillar 4: Design Ecosystem:

Beyond a PLM and Design culture-changer, the DS Design Studio is a Design consultant for external and internal customers. Whether a Dassault Systèmes client or someone internally has a product design need, the DS Design Studio is available for advice but also practical help. They can design your desired product in CATIA and see it through to production. They can also help you build a lifelike product experience scenario for design reviews. The Design Ecosystem is the web of players involved with DS Design Studio and is composed of several types of partners.

• Design schools (i.e. Strate College, CCS)
• Design shops (i.e. Nori Inc., 3e-Oeil)
• Design customers (i.e. aerospace OEM)

For example, the DS Design Studio is working with an aerospace OEM to design the interior cabin for a line of business jets as well as the lifelike experience for the design review. I’ll go into more about the schools in another blog series, maybe Design Series 2.

So there you have it, the four pillars of DS Design Studio.

• Design Image
• Design R&D Solutions
• Design Experience
• Design Ecosystem

Stay tuned to meet the people behind the studio . . .



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