Visualization

Sensing the World in 3D

The growing popularity of 3D printing among the hobbyists as well as professional designers suggests a comparable rise in the use of reality-capture devices — hardware that lets you scan and capture the shape and geometry of physical objects. With 3D printers, Microsoft is betting the consumer models will pave the way for costlier, bigger professional models. (For more, read “Microsoft Adding Plut-and-Play 3D Printing to Windows OS,” May 7, 2014.) There’s good reason to make a similar assumption about 3D scanners as well.

Priced $399, the Cubify Sense seems ready to capture not just geometry but also the attention of early adopters and curious tech users. Measuring roughly 7 x 5 x 1 inches, the 3D scanner is smaller and lighter than a typical hardcover book. The device has no independent power source. It operates through a USB connection to a tablet or computer. The computer is also required for downloading the Sense software to activate and drive the device. Since whatever you want to scan may not be located close to your desktop, a laptop or a mobile tablet you can carry around is the best option for operating the scanner. Continue reading

EPA to Use ANSYS FORTE to Prove CAFE Standards Are Achievable

Are the upcoming Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards realistic or achievable? It’s something EPA has to first find out for itself. To do that, the Agency is using ANSYS FORTÉ, a package for simulating combustion engine activities.

According to the announcement released by ANSYS today, EPA plans to use FORTÉ software “to model in-cylinder combustion to develop an advanced test engine that will demonstrate fuel-saving and emissions-reducing technologies.”

ANSYS FORTÉ used to be a product of Reaction Design, based on San Diego, California. The product became part of the ANSYS portfolio when Reaction Design was acquired by ANSYS this January. Continue reading

HP Wants to Add a Splash of Color to Monochrome-Dominated Repographics

As enterprise customers start thinking about contract renewals, hardware leases, and IT costs, HP wants them to keep something in mind — color. In a yet-to-be-named product series that HP plans to launch in the second half of 2015, the company will deliver wide-format Inkjet printers with PageWide technology, capable of both monochrome and color printing. The upcoming offering will “disrupt the $1.3 billion production printing market currently dominated by monochrome light-emitting diode (LED) printers,” according to HP.

Even though PageWide uses water-based pigment ink, the printed output is expected to be water-resistant. That, HP believes, will be an attractive feature for engineering and construction crews working onsite, in weather-exposed, leakage-prone environments. Since the nozzle operations and the print head movement mimic the scanning technology, integrated scanner will be an available option for customers who desire it. The software bundled with the system will offer accurate on-screen representation of print results based on materials chosen by users (such as types of paper) and more efficient PDF file management. Continue reading

Gliding into the Past: Dassault Systemes Recreates Operation Overlord

It was a mission so perilous D-Day’s head of airborne operations predicted 70% of the planes and up to half the men involved would be lost, according to NOVA (Reconstructing the D-Day Gliders). The mission was to deliver an advanced force behind enemy lines to secure some of the bridges and crossings before the primary assault began on D-Day. The idea was to have C47 planes tow a series of gliders across the English channel. Upon reaching the landing site, the tow ropes would be cut to let the glider pilots land the planes, made of mostly wood and fabric. What’s worse? The pilot would have to land the unwieldy gliders in the dark, in about three minutes.

Seventy years later, a few people from Dassault Systemes got to experience what it was like to land a WWII-era glider in the tree-strewn French countryside. They were part of the production team that helped NOVA recreate the D-Day landing for a documentary series. Continue reading

NVIDIA Launches Remote Desktop Service Test, Powered by NVIDIA GRID

Is it feasible to run professional-grade software using a remote desktop, or a virtual desktop? It’s a scenario that many have proposed as the way of the future, driven in part by the software consumers’ comfort with SaaS and in part by the potential cost reduction in eliminating physical hardware. Last week, NVIDIA launched a service that lets you test it yourself. The NVIDIA GRID test drive is now online.

To run the test drive, you’ll need to register and download a thin client (a 10 MB launch file). Once done, you’ll be able to log in to get 24-hour access to a remote desktop, hosted in a GPU-accelerated GRID server. The tester’s desktop is preloaded with, among other programs, AutoCAD, SolidWorks eDrawings, Google Earth, PowerPoint, and a few multimedia files. Continue reading