Welcome to the sixteenth edition of World of CAD, Scan2CAD’s monthly roundup of CAD-related news. In this month’s edition, we’ll start by looking at InstantCAD, an exciting new plugin that allows for instant feedback and real-time optimization. In business news, we’ll also cover the billion-dollar deal between Dassault Systèmes and Boeing.
After that, we’ll focus on the launch of Gravity Sketch‘s new VR program for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Finally, we’ll turn our attention to all the happenings at this year’s SIGGRAPH conference. Read on for all the CAD news you need this month!
Edit and optimize designs in real time with InstantCAD
For decades, CAD has been at the heart of the modern design process. Practically everything we manufacture was first designed in CAD software, allowing for dramatic advances in the field of product design. Nonetheless, whilst CAD has made it easy to design a product, it hasn’t always been quite so straightforward to optimize it. Now, a team of researchers from MIT and Columbia have created a tool that aims to change all of that: InstantCAD.
The team behind InstantCAD sum up its purpose in just three words: Making CAD Easier. More specifically, the plugin aims to speed up the development period by allowing for instant simulations and feedback. Designers can use InstantCAD to test for factors as diverse as stress distribution, forces, heat, deformation, and wind drag.
The key difference with existing simulation software is that you can see the impact of each change you make in real time. This cuts out the normal wait time typically experienced when changing a specific property within your model. As such, this tool is particularly useful when creating complex models or products where thousands of different factors may come into play at any one time.
For lead researcher Adriana Schulz, InstantCAD “is really about creating better products in less time”. She hopes that the plugin, which integrates seamlessly with CAD software, “could be a real game changer for automakers and other companies that want to be able to test and improve complex designs in a matter of seconds”. You can check out the team’s work over at MIT.
Boeing inks billion-dollar partnership with Dassault Systèmes
The links between Boeing, one of the world’s largest aerospace and defense firms, and Dassault Systèmes go back over three decades. Boeing began using Dassault’s CATIA software for aircraft design in 1986, and the two companies’ partnership has deepened over the years. Now, Boeing makes use of various Dassault software, including simulation and additive manufacturing solutions. Now, they’re taking things a step further, with Boeing and Dassault Systèmes signing a multi-year agreement valued at $1bn.
The contract will see Dassault’s 3DEXPERIENCE platform being put to use across a range of Boeing operations. Specifically, Boeing will be making use of several of Dassault Systèmes’ industry solution experiences:
- Winning Program
- Co-Design to Target
- Ready for Rate
- Build to Operate
- Licence to Fly
The aim of using these experiences is to strengthen the company’s position against its European rival Airbus, and to improve company-wide operations. Dassault Systèmes confirmed that the deal was “the most important ever signed” by the company. The thirty-year contract is renewable every ten years, and will encompass civil aeronautics, defence, and space. Learn more by viewing Dassault’s press release.
Gravity Sketch officially launches VR software
Eagle-eyed readers will know that this isn’t the first time we’ve featured Gravity Sketch on the Scan2CAD blog. We first covered the London-based startup’s first iPad app back in April 2016. Then, last October, we featured their ambitious Kickstarter project, which saw them attempt to venture into VR. Ten months on, that project has come to fruition: Gravity Sketch officially launched their VR sketching software this month.
Gravity Sketch’s new software is commercially available on the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift virtual reality platforms. Anyone who has used the company’s iPad app will be familiar with the software’s functionality, whereby users create new models simply by drawing freehand. The key difference is that design does not take place on screen, but instead in a virtual environment. Users are then free to fill this environment with models, which they can see and edit in three dimensions.
Within the virtual environment, users have access to an array of tools. These tools make it simple and intuitive to create models seemingly out of thin air. As such, it’s possible for even a newcomer to CAD to create accurate, realistic models in next to no time. Meanwhile, more advanced users have plenty of tools at their disposal to create models with greater complexity. Once completed, users can then export their objects for use in CAD software. For full details on the new software, visit Gravity Sketch.
The latest in computer graphics on display at SIGGRAPH 2017
As we noted in our guide covering how to build the ultimate CAD PC, graphics are crucial to any CAD user. With this in mind, we paid close attention to the SIGGRAPH 2017 conference which took place earlier this month. The conference, held in Los Angeles from July 30–August 3, showcased the latest and greatest developments in the world of computer graphics.
There was a vast array of different technologies on display at the conference, though there was—as you may have expected—a focus on VR. One of the most exciting developments was Neurable, a startup from the University of Michigan. They offered a seriously futuristic adaptation of an HTC Vive VR headset, connected to EEG and eye-tracking sensors. As such, it allowed users to control virtual objects using nothing but their own minds.
Another exciting demonstration came courtesy of The Mill and Epic Games, whose film The Human Race incorporated real-time visual effects. The film gave a taste of how live-action VFX could learn from recent developments in game design, with a demonstration taking place live on the conference floor. Meanwhile, Disney Research displayed their Magic Bench, a mixed-reality experience which enabled humans to interact with animated characters.
All in all, there was plenty to get excited about this year in the fields of VR, AR, and beyond. To get the full lowdown on the conference, head to the SIGGRAPH website—or learn more about CAD in virtual reality.