The third and final general session of SolidWorks World 2011 was packed with updates. Honestly, I'm not sure how they managed to fit so much stuff in.
Fielder Hiss welcomed everyone and pointed out that President Obama recognized SolidWorks customer Center Rock during the State of the Union speech on Tuesday night. Center Rock was one of the companies we highlighted at our Monday general session for their work in the rescue of the miners in Chile. Again it shows the impact our users have in the world.
First up for today were Mike Puckett and Avelino Rochino from the SolidWorks certification team. Over 35,000 designers are SolidWorks certified, and a video highlighted some of their work. They then brought on stage Matt Perez who has achieved the designation of Certified SolidWorks Expert. Matt's from Virginia Tech, is very active in the design community, even creatining video tutorials and posting them on the web for free. Matt says his motivation was to go past the "how to's" and look at the "why's" and "what's" in designing with SolidWorks. Jeremy Luchini came on stage to present Matt with a paintball gun like the ones used in the opening video and a radio controlled toy truck.
Jeremy stayed on stage and started to relate how close the SolidWorks community truly is. He begain to look at the six degrees of separation, when actor Kevin Bacon walked on stage to show him how it should be done. Bacon talked about the high degree of collaboration needed in making a movie, and how as an actor he needs to establish a clear vision of what he wants to do, and then work with the director and crew to make it happen. Kevin also spoke about his website SixDegrees.org where individuals can volunteer or contribute to charities.
Customers: 1st Place-Bengt DahlBorg, Edaco AB; 2nd Place-Satakal Khalsa, TriAxial Design and Analysis; 3rd Place-Brian Lindahl, CAD_Speed-Up.
Resellers: 1st Place-Josh Altergott, Computer Aided Technology; 2nd Place-Uwe Thieme, daveg, gmbh; 3rd Place-Michael Burks, MLC CAD Systems.
Congratulations to all the winners!
Next up came a look at new products coming soon from SolidWorks. Fielder gave an overview of SolidWorks Live Buildings, a true 3D tool for the AEC market. This is a brand new conceptual modeling tool for the architecture and construction field, and an exciting new direction for SolidWorks. Neil Cooke took us through a live demo.
Next was a demonstration of our newest product, SolidWorks n!Fuze. This was first shown last year when it was called SolidWorks Product Data Sharing. It's an online application that makes it easy to share files and collaborate with large teams, and I'll post a more detailed update later.
Everyone's favorite part of the preview came up next–what's coming up in SolidWorks 2012. This year the creativity was really flowing, as the team did a parody of the TV show "Cops" with a video called "CAD Cops." I won't get into everything the team showed, but some of the features that got the most applause were improvements for creating balloon order, magnet lines, view label reuse, and sheet metal enhancements.
Next came the top ten list of enhancements and changes as requested by customers on the SolidWorks forum. Bruce Holway had members of the product development team present the list. Can you guess what the top request was? "Angle mates that don't flip at random." Other items getting applause were "File compatibilty between versions", "Convert solid body into a surface body without having to delete, offset, or knit faces", "Enhanced equations input, and editing and linking", and "Better utilize processor cores."
The session closed out with stories about some of the amazing ways SolidWorks is being used in education. There are now over 1,000,000 education licenses around the world. Jeff Ray talked about Riley Lewis, an exceptional 13-year-old who has become a SolidWorks whiz, and is using his skills to help design things for his father's company.
We also heard about Federal University of Minas Gervais in Brazil that's using SolidWorks to design world-record-breaking experimental aircraft, and consulting with Red Bull racing pilots who set four new world records. And finally, we heard about Ben Gulak, an MIT student who has two companies making some amazing new vehicles. His working prototype of "Uno"–a motorized electric unicycle won 2nd prize at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and was named one of the Top 10 products of 2008 by Popular Science magazine. A second vehicle–"The Shredder"–is part tank, part skateboard, and part motorbike. A consumer version is scheduled for later this year, and Ben is working with the US Air Force Academy on a military version.