We thought about this. However, we figured that our time is best spent on what we do best, which is create design software, not chairs. :)
To promote any next steps that the designers might want to pursue, we made sure to structure the Contest rules so that the designers submitting an entry are assigning us a license to their design, but NOT assigning us ownership of it. That way, they can do what they want with their design afterwards, as long as we can continue to use it for our nefarious marketing purposes :). I think this is unusual for most contests -- usually it's the easiest thing to just write text that grants all rights to the Contest sponsor as a matter of course, but one of our judges (Josh Mings of SolidSmack) really advocated for this way. (You can check out the contest rules for the exact agreement -- don't quote me, I'm no lawyer!)
Beth is right, the real reason for the contest was to shift people's mindsets, rather than come up with a specific design solution.
So often we see more and more focus on renewable energy. It's neat to see the focus on the materials side of manufacturing now. I hope to see products and contests like this make people aware of more than just the cost of the components of the product.
WOW! So gratifying to see that we're designing products based on "GREEN" technology. I'll bet MOMMIE EARTH is just crying with overjoy at all this hustle & bustle. She'll be celebrating another birthday soon, and knowing that the urchins she planted here so many years ago are really concerned about her NEXT 1 BILLION or so years is very consoling to her. PRESS ON!!!!!
How she ever survived ALL those cataclysmic events in her previous Billion years is amazing, and ALL of it without the help of humankind or AL GORE!!!!
Certainly, it would be nice to have formalized processes and possible funding resources available to help commercialize some of the really cool and innovative designs emanating from SolidWorks' and other vendors' contests. I'm sure in select cases, there are. You definitely see a lot of really novel and out-of-the-box ideas that with the right funding and engineering/manufacturing resources, could really make a difference in a lot of markets.
While it's good that the participants get to think about some concerns that may not normally be exposed to, it is too bad that there isn't some additional sponsorship to get some of these ideas into the bigger marketplace. This applies to these types of contests in general, not specifically at the SolidWorks one....
I think this is likely a case that the design idea dies with the contest--that is unless the winner, Russell Donovan, decides to go on his own. In an interview, Donovan said the real benefit of particating in the contest was that he was exposed to the SustainabilityXpress capabilities and forced to not only learn the tool, but also many of the best practices around design for sustainability. Green design is something that he hasn't necessarily had to address in his day job.
California State University, Chico was the first school in California to offer an ABET-accredited degree program in mechatronic engineering. Now its California Mechatronics Center works with industry on machinery, robotics, and surveillance vehicles.
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