The iPhone’s Siri and Windows’ upcoming Cortana may not be as intrusive as the fictional AI Samantha from the Sci-fi rom-com Her, but, with every new incarnation, they would get more personal, more intelligent, more AI-like. (You can bet they’ll remember your appointments better than you do.) Game consoles like Xbox Kinect can now “see” you, in a manner of speaking; using camera view, they can process, remember, and respond to your gestures and expressions. Yet, most engineering and design software still seems entrenched in the mouse-and-keyboard paradigm. Will Congress on the Future of Engineering Software (COFES) yield an inspiring outlook for the state of CAD, CAM, CAE? Continue reading
For a long time, HSMWorks for SolidWorks was the envy of Autodesk Inventor users. The computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) program was best known for its tight integration with SolidWorks’ CAD program. Even the “-Works” in HSMWorks, I suspect, might have been the creators’ deliberate tie to SolidWorks in branding. The only way the SolidWorks-HSMWorks integration could have been tighter was for Dassault Systemes, SolidWorks’ parent company, to acquire HSMWorks.
HSMWorks eventually did get bought, but not by Dassault. It was by Autodesk, which owns SolidWorks’ CAD rival Autodesk Inventor. The fierce competition between SolidWorks and Inventor notwithstanding, the new owner vows to keep HSMWorks interoperable with SolidWorks. At the same time, the lack of an Inventor-integrated HSMWorks became an imbalance that needs to be corrected. This week, the correction comes in the form of Autodesk Inventor HSM, a CAD-CAM bundle that includes both Autodesk Inventor design software and CAM features. Continue reading
Did China-based ZWSOFT copy some of Autodesk’s AutoCAD code while developing a competing product? Autodesk seems to think so.
On March 26, the company filed a case against ZWCAD Software Co., Ltd., ZWCAD Design Co., Ltd., and Global Force Direct, LLC. (ZWCAD’s sales arm targeting the U.S. market), alleging copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation (case summery here).
In the complaint filed with The U.S. District Court, Northern California, Autodesk writes, “The ‘new’ ZWCAD+ is not merely an AutoCAD ‘work-a-like,’ and it does not just share similar interfaces and commands. In crucial and unmistakable ways, ZWCAD+ performs identically to prior versions of AutoCAD. This duplication, which is at the source code level, could not have been accomplished through coincidence or the application of similar programming logic.” The complaint cites “the existence of ‘bugs,’ programming remnants, and other idiosyncrasies in software code” that suggest a shared origin. Continue reading
At Converse’s design-your-own-sneaker portal, you get to create your own pair of Chuck Taylor, Jack Purcell, or Poorman. You pick the fabric print. You pick the sole and lace colors. You can even specify the eyelets — the rings through which you fasten your lace. Want something with more support than a lightweight Converse? Head over to Reebok to design your own running shoes. Marvel now lets you envision your own crime-fighting crusader at its Create Your Own Superhero portal. You choose the skin type, the headgear, and the outfit. If you’re so enamored by your custom superhero that you’d like to put him or her on your iPhone cover, head over to Skinit to upload the saved image and order your own cover.
The DYI consumerism is now spilling into larger products, including cars. Ford wants you to create your own custom Mustang V6, Gt, or GT500. Renault and Maserati are also happy to let you configure your own car online, outfitting it with from preferred bodywork, wheels, and carpets. Partly driven by instant visualization over the web, partly driven by the buyers’ participatory behavior, shopping seems to heading into the virtual world, into an environment that accommodates instant input and feedback. Continue reading
Jack and Jill — the two avatars from Siemens PLM’s Tecnomatix Jack software –are about to head into classrooms.
Jack and Jill are made of pixels, not flesh and blood, so you can subject them to extreme conditions, command them to lift unreasonable loads, or squeeze them into tight corners without guilt. They’re your guinea pigs to test plant floors, factory layouts, and assembly line configurations, among other things. Automotive and aerospace manufacturers use them routinely in the discipline known as process simulation. Last week, Siemens PLM released an academic license of Jack, available for free. Continue reading