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.
A new service lets engineers and orthopedic surgeons design and 3D print highly accurate, patient-specific, orthopedic medical implants made of metal -- without owning a 3D printer. Using free, downloadable software, users can import ASCII and binary .STL files, design the implant, and send an encrypted design file to a third-party manufacturer.
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.