While range limitations and bandwidth constraints of smartphones and tablets prevent full-blown CAD, CAE, or other design tool work, new mobile apps are emerging to help engineers be more productive.
Technical calculators, 3D mark-up and viewing capabilities, and a variety of highly specialized engineering utilities are now commonplace on app stores for both Apple's iOS devices and the wide variety of Android gear. There are even some base simulation capabilities being made available in app-sized packages, and there will be lots more to come as design tool vendors and engineers figure out what functionality makes sense in this new paradigm.
Click on the photo below to view a slideshow showcasing the mobile design apps available today:
Autodesk's SketchBook Mobile is a professional-grade paint and drawing application designed for the iPhone and iPod Touch. (Source: Autodesk)
Beth, I really enjoyed the slideshow regarding the Design Apps for the Mobile Engineer. In addition to the wonderful mobile design tools for the iPhone and iPad there are quite a few apps for android devices as well. I currently have five design apps on my DroidX Android phone I use quite often. The "RealCalc and "Scientific Calculator" apps are powerful engineering calculators with functions equal to the TI 83 and 85 computing devices. Electroid is an mobile app that has such useful tools as calculating capacitve reactance, ohms law, voltage divider calculator, resistor and inductor color codes, filters, op-amps, and the LM317 voltage regulator tools just to name a few. Every circuit is a mobile simulator package for analyzing digital and analog devices. The "NXP" and "NXP RF" Calculator provide access to the companies semiconductor, microcontroller, and rf product line datasheets and application notes in addition to radio frequency design equations.
Beth, excellent article.You're beginning to convince I really need an i-PAD, if for nothing else to save my eyesight.It's really amazing the distance we have come with communication technology.I'm one of those old guys who remembers wall-mounted crank-type telephones and party lines. The advances are absolutely striking.I certainly hope you will keep your readers informed as to developments in this fast moving field.Again, great job with the slides.
We have been serving the design engineering community with interactive eCatalogs and eConfiguratiors embedded in component suppliers' websites, since 1998. Thinking it's time to offer the same capability in a 'mobile view', we released our Version 1.0 smart-phone eCatalog platform this month.
Reading about 'eye-test' feedback in this discussion, I'd be curious and appreciative of any reactions provided by design engineers about the viability and usability of this app. It's a mobile view of a SaaS app that serves out multiple instances of custom eCatalogs designed to help engineers discover our customers' components to then acquire and build-in to their designs.
I agree. I do feel that in general conversations between engineers or meetings at shows it is nice pull something on the phone and help in the conversation. Or quickly check is changes were made or something like that.
I damage my eyes sometimes just trying to decipher things on my laptop's 15-inch screen, even though I wear glasses. Making the type big doesn't work if a webpage has been designed to be too large to contain it all at a readable size. So I can't imagine looking at any of that on a smartphone screen, let alone detailed CAD drawings.
I completely agree with you. To have an application like Autodesk on smartphone is a PR job. You will damage your eyes before making a change on a drawing. On the other side to have a possibility to show various format drawings and sketches and 3D is a plus.
Ann, thanks- you are right.By classifying into two distinct groups, I can acknowledge value in the small screen apps. But I strongly reiterate the FLUFF effect that any major playerin the CAD industry (ummm,,,AutoDesk) is trying to put their apps onto Smart phones. It's a ploy for PR at best.
Beth, we keep seeing more and more articles on small screen CAD apps.I've posted "objections" before, but obviously the tide is turning where people in all disciplines feel the need to have and to hold such capability on their mobile devices. But I simply can't wrap my head around how they have any real value, as I've spent decades using full-scale CAD on increasingly larger and larger screens.On the contrary, these all seem like the old Etch-A-Sketch joke. (Apologies to the Ohio Art Company!)
So, it's the perfect tool for the Dilbert Engineering Manager who truly doesn't understand design details but simply wants to "appear" to be enlightened by using a showy watchdog tool to keep tabs on real designers using full scale systems.
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