As complex products move from initial concept to first prototype and beyond,
there are a number of people who could benefit from easy access to design data.
Such access would speed the creation of drawings and renderings while also
reducing the potential for errors.
CadSoft Solutions Inc. of Pewaukee, WI, has devised a program that lets what
it calls “casual users” work with design data. “There are a lot of people like
technical illustrators and model builders who need to use this data, but they
don’t want to learn CAD software. This lets them read in Catia data and use it
for illustrations,” says timothy Olson, president of CadSoft.
These casual users typically find that access to design data done with
programs such as Catia can save them significant amounts of time. The CadSoft
tools are designed to augment traditional modeling tools, since they use
software icons and techniques geared to non-engineers instead of designers who
use CAD tools. “Our focus is not on functionality but on usability. We want the
casual user to be able to create models of interest without learning techniques
they will only use a few times,” Olson says. The software takes advantage of
modeling techniques that have emerged in recent years, linking them to simple
user interfaces. Olson notes that time savings can be several hours for a
drawing that would take a full day if illustrators used CAD software.
In a bid to boost the viability of lithium-based electric car batteries, a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a chemistry that could possibly double an EV’s driving range while cutting its battery cost in half.
Using Siemens NX software, a team of engineering students from the University of Michigan built an electric vehicle and raced in the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. One of those students blogged for Design News throughout the race.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.