This reminds me of the old ad slogan Nikon used with its 35-mm film cameras -- "It's not a camera, it's a system." Tools that perform a design function, no matter how adept they are at that (or how many features one rarely uses are crammed in), are useless if they're not part of a complete, product lifecycle management ecosystem. Tracking engineering changes is just as important -- more -- than pulling all nighters to get the prototype out. A robust content management solution -- exciting though that might not be -- is a big part of this.
The community experience is an important part of this. Next-generation engineers aren't getting their information and feedback in the old tried-and-true ways. Electronics distributors (think of Element 14) are adopting the community approach, too. The iTunes/social media approach will be well received.
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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