Dassault Systèmes, makers of SolidWorks, hosted the 2023 3DEXPERIENCE World & Forum in Nashville, Tennessee last week. The event invited manufacturers, engineers, designers, entrepreneurs, students and business leaders from around the world to Music City for learning, collaboration and innovation.
In addition to sessions, hands-on workshops, instructional courses and product briefings, the event featured the 3DEXPERIENCE Playground.
Three exhibitors in the playground stood out for their contributions to manufacturing, sustainability, inclusivity and innovation.
Weart, an electronics company from Milan, Italy, held demonstrations of the TouchDIVER, a wearable haptic glove that adds tactile sensations to any VR/AR experience and digital content.
Useful in virtual prototyping, the device recreates industrial training and assembly tasks by tracking a user's hand movements and applying forces, textures and thermal cues on his skin.
Weart Founder Guido Gioioso says automakers are using the technology to feel and evaluate the ergonomics of a vehicle during the design process. Weart also works with industrial and medical companies, and the extra layer of realism also applies to entertainment, gaming and marketing experiences.
Gioioso says TouchDIVER is the mouse and keyboard for the new computing era that is transitioning from 2D screens to a 3D experience. The next step for Weart is designing a new standard for haptics that will enable mass adoption.
Ocean-Based Climate Solutions
Ocean-Based Climate Solutions designs, manufactures, deploys and manages fleets of wave-powered ocean upwelling pumps. The pumps aim to correct climate change and draw excess carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and into the ocean while restoring the food chain and ecosystem.
According to chief engineer Phil Fullam, the pumps can be manufactured worldwide with a laser or a plasma cutter and a manual break. They target corporations and governments that want to become net zero or eliminate their carbon footprint.
The pumps use wave energy to bring nutrients from 200 to 1,000 meters deep into the sunlight zone, which triggers photosynthesis and, as a result, grows phytoplankton. The phytoplankton, which double en masse every 24 hours, feed higher species. The pumps also collect real-time data from the ocean, including temperature, nutrients, dissolved oxygen, salinity and pH measurements.
Fullam, who has been designing with SolidWorks since 2005, said the software is ideal for the pump's iterative design as the company is now on its fourth-generation system.
The company hopes to gather corporate customers as sponsors in the next few years.
"The application for this machine is fun.” Exosapien Technologies CEO and founder Jonathan Tippett wasn’t bashful when it came to describing the primary application for his Prosthesis prototype. The “anti-robot” is a 4,000-kilogram quadruped exoskeleton with a unique architecture that features four legs on a common axis.
Tippett, a mechanical engineer, began developing the 100% electric-powered and human-controlled machine in 2006 and designed about 80% of it in SolidWorks.
The machine was incubated in an educational charity that Tippett started in 2007 called eatART Foundation (Energy Awareness Through Art), which aims to inspire people to use engineering creatively and to educate them about clean energy technology.
It was also recently posted for sale on gm.co for about $1.75 million.
Tippett envisions a sports league with four or five machines competing. Additionally, he said it could be used for wildfire fighting, specifically in mountains where bulldozers and excavators cannot establish firebreaks.
At one point, the military approached Exosapien, but said the machine wasn't well suited for weaponization. Nor could it be, as it is enshrined in Tippett’s company constitution not to weaponize his machines.
Future iterations are expected to be more anthropomorphic but not fully bipedal. Perhaps something akin to a chimpanzee with the ability to run on all fours and stand on two legs.
Tippett added at 3DEXPERIENCE World that the company is working on the EXO-quad and described it as a cross between a motorcycle, a mech suit and a quad. Users will be able to use their hands and feet to independently control the ride height of the machine’s four wheels. Tippett said the company expects the first prototype to come out in about a year.
While Tippett welcomes the prospect of using the machine for firefighting, and search and rescue, he also stresses the importance of simply playing. He says playing is fundamental to human well-being, and while the machine may not end up saving lives, it makes life worth living.