NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 7: More than 3,500 of the world's top minds in product design conclude four days of exchanging ideas and evaluating the latest 3D CAD technology when SolidWorks World 2007 finishes today.
The four-day conference, the world's largest annual event focused on 3D CAD issues, attracted SolidWorks customers, journalists, and more than 100 partners demonstrating products ranging from the latest innovations in 3D CAD-related hardware, to new software including viewing, collaboration, and optical design tools. The showcase of products designed with SolidWorks®
3D CAD software included more than 150 items worth more than $2 million, including running shoes, a hot drink system, a mechanical doll, a scale model of a nuclear power assembly, an ice cream machine, lounge furniture, and a racing dragster.
The speaking program of events included 170 breakout sessions and a preview of SolidWorks 2008 3D CAD software. The slate of speakers featured Apple®, Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak; actor Leonard Nimoy, television's legendary Mr. Spock from Star Trek; and Colonel Lewis F. Setliff III of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who spoke on efforts to rebuild New Orleans. Rwandan Minister of Science, Technology, and Scientific Research Romain Murenzi spoke about his country's growing technology infrastructure.
The conference included SolidWorks customers whose products and services contributed to Hurricane Katrina relief, and a forum on sustainable technologies. Some of the Katrina relief products showcased included SolidWorks users such as Vermeer, which makes high-reliability wood chippers for debris cleanup, and Homac, which develops power lines that are easy to repair after a natural disaster.
The sustainable technologies forum, moderated by journalist Pam Waterman, discussed one of product design's fastest growing issues: meeting customer demand and regulatory requirements for environmentally friendly products. Waterman's guests were Rick Woodbury, president of Seattle-based Commuter Cars Corporation; Ben Eadie, a Calgary-based engineer who designs solar cars; Anna Jaffe, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology student working on the Vehicle Design Summit project; and Kishore Boyalakuntla, national technical manager for analysis products at SolidWorks Corporation. Their discussion focused on design engineering's role in producing energy- and material-efficient products with minimal environmental impact.
"There is a lot of curiosity about sustainable design in the product design and engineering communities. People hear about its use in the architectural world, but aren't as savvy about its broader implications or how it could affect their own work," Waterman said. "Our goal was to give them a frame of reference by describing current projects that specifically embrace sustainable design concepts and tools."
Wozniak, SolidWorks World 2007's keynote speaker, shared his story of becoming "a computer nerd" with the audience, explaining that his drive to explore as-yet untapped technology drove him toward his success at Apple. He also reminded the audience the relationship between computers and their users is symbiotic. "Computers can do a million things a second. People can only do about one thing a second at best. It takes algorithms and clever approaches to make computers efficient. It's the interaction between humans and computers that makes things happen," he said.
Like Wozniak, SolidWorks CEO John McEleney also challenged attendees to try designing things they've never attempted before, because that is the spark for developing better products. He talked about pursuing the "absurdly ideal," projects that on the surface seem outrageously ambitious, but could ultimately change everyday life. He also reminded attendees how significant a role they play in the future of SolidWorks and its products. "You continue to push us. You've helped us build a great product. You've helped us build a great company. And you've helped us build a great community," he said.
About SolidWorks Corporation
SolidWorks Corporation, a Dassault Systèmes S.A. (Nasdaq: DASTY, Euronext Paris: #13065, DSY.PA) company, develops and markets software for design, analysis, and product data management. It is the leading supplier of 3D CAD technology, giving teams intuitive, high-performing software that helps them design better products. For the latest news, information, or an online demonstration, visit the company's Web site (www.solidworks.com) or call 1-800-693-9000 (outside of North America, call +1-978-371-5000).