Conceptual presentation of 3D modeling is key to the user interface of Cosmic Blobs, the design software by SolidWorks for users aged seven to 14. Design objects are presented as blobs of playdough that can be stretched and shaped easily.
New to the design education market is the Mac OS X Tiger-compatible Cosmic Blobs, a modeling tool by SolidWorks (www.solidworks.com) to introduce 3D design to seven- to 14-year-olds. This Mac version takes advantage of the Tiger Dashboard, which offers quick access to mini-applications, or widgets. The Cosmic Blobs Dashboard Widget, for example, provides models, tutorials, and educational curricula. Young designers can stretch and shape digital modeling clay to create and animate their 3D designs. This is a "more natural way" as compared to the 3D path approach in CAD, says Scott Harris, VP of New Product Concepts at SolidWorks. Nonetheless, he adds, Cosmic Blobs also teaches young users how to "articulate concepts in a creative way, the same design and innovation process that creative professionals go through at work." And to designer parents, Harris continues, Cosmic Blobs offers "a terrific opportunity to get the kids involved [in 3D modeling] and show them what the parents do for a living." To download a free trial of Cosmic Blobs, go to www.cosmicblobs.com.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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