SolidWorks World 2011 Day 2 – General Session Update

The second day of SolidWorks World 2011 started off with Richard Doyle, who manages the SolidWorks User Group Network, hailing the local SolidWorks user communities. The "User Group of the Year Award" went to the Chicago SolidWorks User Group and was accepted by its leader Denny Bahl.  Ed Gebo from the Connecticut SolidWorks User Group was recognized as the "User Group Leader of the Year." Then Phil Sluder, owner of Triaxial Design & Analysis, paid special tribute to Michelle Pillers, an inspirational user group member who passed away. He then presented the 2010 Michelle Pillers SWUGN Community award to Wayne Tiffany. As the segment concluded, Fielder Hiss emphasized how important and influential the local user communities are. Congratulations, to all the recipients!

Next up, SolidWorks's founder Jon Hirschtick introduced us to some really cool customers. The first SolidWorks customer, Dr. Bill Townsend, founder, president, & CEO of Barrett Technologies told us about his quest to take us from Robots 1.0 – robots kept away from people – to Robots 2.0 – robots that work around people, where robots can respond and follow forces for greater interaction. Bill showed how his company has reduced the control and motor electronics from a cabinet the size of a refigerator, to an assembly the size of a hockey puck.

Next on stage with Jon was Rony Abovitz, Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of MAKO Surgical. When Rony started out, his vision was to use robotics and software to make surgery better. Now his company's human interactive robotic device for orthopedic surgery has been used in more than 6,000 procedures. Jon and Rony were joined on stage by Sam Brooks who was walking 2 hours after knee surgery and playing golf 3 days later.

Jon next brought out Mike Pisani, Senior Vehicle Engineer and Head Builder Trainer for Local Motors, a company who builds cars based on crowdsourced design efforts. With an online community now numbering 9,500 users, Local Motors sources the expertise of transportation designers, engineers, and enthusiasts to design a car in 2 years, versus the 5 to 7 years it usually takes. Once a design is set, only 2,000 cars will be produced. Mike told us that the Local Motors model smashes the wall between design and engineering to create better cars faster.

The morning finished up with Darren Henry of SolidWorks bringing out Casey Pieretti and Bill Spracher from the new Discovery Channel show Bionic Builders. Casey, a Hollywood stuntman and amputee, and Bill, an Engineer/Inventor, related how they push the envelope to build appendages that make their amputee clients not just perform usual tasks, but rock climb, scuba dive, run faster, jump higher. Casey spoke of how he got into stunt work, and now works in movies getting his leg blown up as he's thrown through the air, all with engineering designs created by Bill.

Watch for video from the Day 2 General Session later today.

Matthew West

SolidWorks alumnus. I like plate reverb, Rat pedals, Thai curry, New Weird fiction, my kids, Vespas, Jazzmasters, my wife & Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not necessarily in that order.