CAD tools as part of broader PLM suites are exactly what you say, Alex: End-to-end product design and prototyping systems. As a result, for every function and bell and whistle that gets added to the CAD program, there are broader concerns, as you well point out, about interoperability, security, and perhaps, most importantly, integration with other key design platforms in functional areas beyond mechanical design.
One can't escape the thought that CAD tools are starting to become so broad-based and capable that they're no longer just CAD tools anymore. They're end-to-end product design and prototyping systems. This is not necessarily a bad thing. What it means, though, is that we have to stop treating them like pieces of licensed software, and starting treating them more like mission-critical apps, with all that that entails...like worrying about vendor lock in, data portability, security, etc...
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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