I recently attended the SolidWorks World 2013 world conference in Orlando, Florida. It was held at Walt Disney World January 21-23. The theme this year was “Design Without Limits” and that in itself is a great lesson for young and old designers alike. The idea is to not think outside the box but think outside of reality for true innovation.
Top 10 things at SolidWorks World 2013 for the Engineering Drafting and Design Professional.
- The chance to meet and network with nearly 5000 people from around the world that do the same thing you do on a daily basis.
- The conference was kicked off by SolidWorks CEO, Bertrand Secot who thoroughly enjoys talking to designers and engineers about the work that they do and how SolidWorks can help them. I also met Dassault Systemes CEO, Bernard Charles.
- One of the new SolidWorks product announcements was Mechanical Conceptual, an up-front design product that enables a more organic way to get initial ideas developed.
- The Partner Pavilion is a place to see products and services from Dell, HP, nVidia and a ton of other vendors, large and small.
- Marie Planchard is the Director of the Education Community and it’s always a pleasure discussing the SolidWorks education programs with her.
- Highlighted customers:
- Team Red Bull Stratos – Art Thompson and Jon Wells talked about the work they did to enable the Felix Baumgartner jump from the edge of space, 24 miles up.
- Mavericks Civilian Space Foundation – Tom Atchinson talked about how he gives students the chance to design and launch rockets into space. Marie Planchard surprised everyone by announcing that SolidWorks would step up to sponsor his next mission. I had the opportunity to eat breakfast with Tom just before he went on the main stage.
- Festo showed a number of robots developed to help people that are not physically able to do everyday functions. They take design queues from nature with a robotic arm modeled after an elephant’s trunk and grippers that can pick up an egg modeled after a shark’s fin. The highlight though was a robotic bird that flew around the general session hall.
- University of Pennsylvania – Vijay Kumar, Professor at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at University of Pennsylvania talked about work that his students are doing in the field of flying robots. They developed quad rotor robots that fly themselves based on target locations that are programmed in.
- SolidWorks Community – Another of the new features announced by SolidWorks was the release of My.SolidWorks (my.solidworks.com). With My.SolidWorks the user community now has a single place to go to search for information rather than having to search multiple forums and help sites.
- User Groups are always a big part of SolidWorks World since after all it is the largest user group meeting in the world. Being a user group leader and SWUGN board member, I always get excited about this part of the conference and Richard Doyle makes a good advocate for this part of the SolidWorks community.
- The preview of new features that are being developed for the next release of SolidWorks is always a highlight and this year the new features for SolidWorks 2014 was no exception. I can’t wait for the roll outs to happen this fall.
- What would a special event held on Disney property be without visiting some of the parks? Universal Island of Adventure was open one evening only for conference attendees and I for one had a great time.
Contributed by Dan Podzimek, Engineering Drafting and Design Program Chair, NTI School of Technology, Globe University