Looking out at the New Horizons of Design Technology

It was a packed house for the New Horizons general session on day two of SOLIDWORKS World. So packed, in fact, that two additional overflow rooms had to be opened to accommodate the enthusiastic group of attendees. It appeared that there was no shortage of attendees who wanted to see how far advances in many areas of science and engineering have gone.

First up was Stuart Constantine, co-founder and editor of Core 77, who spoke on the importance of the three Cs: community, collaboration and craft. All three play a critical role in the design of products today.

Sherry Lassiter, president and CEO of the Fab Foundation, was up next. She spoke about the explosive growth of both the FabLab network and makerspaces globally. There are currently more than 1,600 Fab Labs in more than 100 countries globally, many in remote areas of the world that are void of universities and typical technology infrastructures. Add in makerspaces and other tech incubators and that number increases to over 5000 globally.

Taking the stage next was a group of college students from Florida Tech who are competing in the Base 11 Space Challenge, a new competition to encourage student-led university teams to design, build and launch their own rockets. This challenge aims to dramatically advance engagement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and increase representation of women and minorities, according to Base 11.

The enthusiasm of these students was palpable as they each described their role on the team and the rather lofty challenges that lie ahead for them in their pursuit of being the first university team to launch a rocket in space.

Matt Schmotzer, a systems engineer with Ford by day and a designer of rollercoaster replicas at night, was up next. He described how he uses SOLIDWORKS to create working replicas of famous rollercoasters. You can find his replica of King Island’s Invertigo roller coaster in The Hive here at SOLIDWORKS World. You can hear Matt talk about how he is now creating rollercoaster replicas for major theme parks throughout the country and how he uses SOLIDWORKS and 3D printing to bring his creations to life.

Next up was Dr. Bob Crockett, a college profession and founder of Haptx. The company uses SOLIDWORKS to design all the unique components that make up the Haptx Gloves. These gloves simulate touch sensation in a highly realistic manner. This is achieved through 130 tactile actuators that physically displace your skin so you can feel the shape, texture and motion of virtual objects.

He treated the audience to the first ever on-stage demo to show how a product design team can physically interact with a new car model. Don’t miss your chance to try out the Haptx Glove by visiting the Partner Pavilion.

If you missed the New Horizons general session you can watch it below.

Barb Schmitz

Barb Schmitz

Senior Marketing Communications Manager at SolidWorks
Barb Schmitz is a Senior Manager in Marketing Communications with BA in Journalism and over 30 years of experience in the CAD software industry. She started her career as a journalist covering technology and served as an editor for several leading industry publications for over 20 years. Besides being a sleuth of tech, she is a loyal dog owner, travel bum, mom, lover of hoppy IPAs, red wine, and alternative music lover living in the great city of Chicago.