I never thought I'd get a smart phone, but Sprint had a promotional offer on the Samsung Replenish (made from ostensibly eco-friendly materials) in which the phone was free and the monthly cost was the same as regular phone service, so I decided I'd try it. I've had it for a year now, and am definitely hooked.
I use my smart phone often in meetings. It's more convenient than a laptop, and allows me to do most of the things a laptop could do: check my e-mail and calendar, read PDF and Office documents, search the internet for a piece of information, etc. It's also a great tool on the plant floor, or when visiting suppliers. I can take photos (or record videos) and e-mail them instantly. Often, this is a lot better than trying to describe something over the phone.
A Windchill app would be very helpful for me. It would allow me to look up part numbers and drawings anywhere. This would save a lot of time in meetings when someone asks, "What's the tolerance on that dimension?"
Although a tablet would have a bigger screen and a more powerful processor, you can't beat the convenience of something you can carry around in your pocket.
Droid, you are definitely getting where this is going. You are echoing most of what the design tool vendors are telling me about their mobile strategies. I think the phone apps are just place holders and in some cases might deliver useful functionality. But I agree the real changes will come with the tablet devices and making use of their unique capabilities ilke GPS, cameras, etc.
I am enthusiastic about the freedom that these new mobile apps bring. Particularly being one of those individuals that has creative moments at odd times of the day.
While I have experimented with apps on my android based phone, the screen size is simply too small to be practical for anything beyond very simple viewing. The larger screen size of tablets is definitely the key to making mobile design apps viable.
With cameras on these devices and location / position sensors, I believe we will also be seeing rapid advances in technology similar to Dassault's Natural Sketch which will allow for overlaying/viewing designs and physically existing structures together (perhaps almost in real time). This is something that wouldn't have been practical from your computer workstation.
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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