Transport Vehicle Goes On An Aluminum Diet

It only stands to reason that an aluminum smelter in need of utility vehicles for operations and maintenance would want those vehicles to be made out the same aluminum it manufacturers, not steel.

Manufacturing a structurally-sound utility transport out of a wholly new material wasn’t the only design challenge for this effort, put into play by Aluminerie Alouette, a Canadian aluminum smelter. The new design also had to accommodate an electric power train—a requirement because the smelting process creates such a strong static magnetic field that regular internal combustion engines have a hard time operating properly within that environment. The third requirement was to create a vehicle design that would allow for easy recycling at the end of the transport’s lifecycle. Continue reading

The 3D RV, Collecting Stories of Design and Innovation Across the U.S.

A blue RV painted with and gadgets and branded with high-tech logos is making its way across the U.S., from California to the New York Islands. The vehicle is commandeered by TJ McCue, a writer and 3D enthusiast. The road trip’s goal is to “[celebrate] the creative process, while illuminating the impact of design through firsthand customer stories, consumer creativity and student innovations,” as TJ puts it in his blog.

The 3DRV, as the journey is called, will cover more than 100 stops in eight months. The road trip is made possible by Autodesk, NVIDIA, HP, and Stratasys, among others. So far, TJ has met with people developing a 3D printer that’ll work in space, an underwater camera that could survive shark bites, and footwear that could double as a cellphone charger. As of today, the RV has covered 6,209 miles, made 54 stops, and TJ has gulped down his 269th cup of coffee. Continue reading

Go Go GADgET: Girls Take on Design Engineering and Manufacturing

When you think of summer camp, you usually think of silly songs, lots of new games and running around in the woods exploring. Except at GADgET, its 16 participants spent part of their summer learning how to use SolidWorks and visiting several manufacturing companies in the Chicago area. The program aims to provide its all-girl participants aged 12 to 16 with a window into the engineering and manufacturing world and empower them to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and manufacturing) careers.

Short for Girls Adventuring in Design, Engineering & Technology, the first GADgET camp ran in 2011, running for just one week with an initial grant from the Nuts, Bolts and Thingamajigs Foundation. As interest grew, so did opportunities for participants. The camp ran for two weeks in June this year. “The kids were so excited, so they learned a lot, but they wanted to do more. It was an interest by the family members and the youth [that brought the two week camp],” said Antigone Sharris, coordinator, engineering technology at Triton College and camp co-director. Continue reading

Chromebook as the Front-End Client Device for Virtual Machines

Normally, you would think long and hard before you attempt to run a Windows-based CAD program on a Google Chromebook. Though affordably priced (starting $199), the lightweight notebook has very limited local storage capacity and runs in Google Chrome OS. That presents challenges for those trying to install and run Windows-based design and engineering software titles that demand graphics acceleration, generous hard-disk space, and ample memory. But what if you use Chromebook only as the front-end client device to access a virtual workstation hosted elsewhere?

That’s the setup NVIDIA, VMWare, and Google are advocating at VMWorld (San Francisco, August 24-26), a virtualization conference. In a press announcement today, the three jointly announced, “a collaborative effort to deliver high-performance virtual desktops and workstation-class graphics to Google Chromebooks.” Billed as a technology preview, the virtualization solution lets you use the latest Chromebooks powered by NVIDIA Tegra K1 mobile processors to remotely run Windows programs using VMWare’s virtualization software. Continue reading

NaviSite Launches Desktop-as-a-Service Offerings

A week after OTOY announced  the launch of its app-streaming platform X.IO, NaviSite, a cloud service and product vendor, is launching Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) products, powered by NVIDIA GRID. NaviSite believes the product beings “desktop virtualization for even the most intensive graphics workloads to a broader audience of end-users using engineering, design, and multimedia applications.”

Though underlying technologies, acronyms, and definitions may be different, app streaming and DaaS are driven by the recognition that consumers are open to the idea of using remotely accessible workstations, billable for usage or time. With NVIDIA Grid, NaviSite’s DaaS offers remote desktops with GPU acceleration, a characteristic that’ll be important to CAD and design software users who rely on photorealistic visuals to evaluate product aesthetics.  Since most of the computing is done on the hosted hardware, users may interact with the remote machine from a lightweight tablet or PC, usually priced far less than a professional workstation. Continue reading