January is the time when many companies preview some of the hottest new features coming out in the next version of their software. And SolidWorks World 2006 was no exception. CEO John McEleney wowed the crowd at his keynote address with a sneak peek at SolidWorks 2007. Due to ship this summer, the software's most significant new capability — gauged by audience reaction — is SWIFT (SolidWorks Intelligent Feature Technology). Though it's a built-in software help system, it promises to be nothing like Microsoft's scorned Clippy tool. Intended for those hairy situations — like when a model fails to regenerate and you can't figure out why without chasing down the resident Solidworks expert — SWIFT helps troubleshoot and fix the problem automatically. "We're basically trying to minimize the CAD overhead, so that the engineer can spend his time doing the creative stuff, instead of having to manually construct a fillet so it works," said McEleney. SWIFT also does things like a true tolerance stackup.
McEleney also promised 50 percent smaller file sizes in SolidWorks 2007 — though he was coy about exactly how engineers reduced the bloat. Even with memory on the cheap, engineers reacted positively to the news.
One way to keep a Formula One racing team moving at breakneck speed in the pit and at the test facility is to bring CAD drawings of the racing vehicle’s parts down to the test facility and even out to the track.
Most of us would just as soon step on a cockroach rather than study it, but that’s just what researchers at UC Berkeley did in the pursuit of building small, nimble robots suitable for disaster-recovery and search-and-rescue missions.
Design engineers need to prepare for a future in which their electronic products will use not just one or two, but possibly many user interfaces that involve touch, vision, gestures, and even eye movements.
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