AI Cannot Replace Creativity but It Can Help

Will artificial intelligence (AI) replace designers? I was recently asked that question in a conversation about AI and machine learning technology. In my opinion the answer is no. One thing it can’t replace is the creativity of a human. A robot may be able to be programmed with AI, but it initially learns from human patterns or mimics human intelligence, also known as machine learning.

However, AI has great potential to automate design workflows and is very much embedded in our SOLIDWORKS® browser-based roles, including 3D Creator and 3D Sculptor.

Meet the Design Assistant! The Design Assistant includes four tools that use built-in, machine learning algorithms that offer design assistance based on your workflow. These AI-powered tools are designed to automate time-consuming and repetitive tasks, such as selecting edges or working with mates, which ultimately help you stay productive and free up time for creativity and things that need more attention.

Let’s look at the Design Assistant tools and how they can help you in a design workflow.

Design Assistant Selection Helper

The Selection Helper predicts and offers a suggestion on what you should select next, based on the work completed so far. It’s a great companion for picking edges, fillets, or chamfers, as it will identify other edges that are similar or symmetrical, are of a comparable length or are located nearby, and predicts what other edges you are likely to select. If you add another manual selection, the prediction is refined. If you agree with the prediction, one tap gives the go-ahead, and it automatically picks all suggested edges. You always have the final say either way.

Say you are working on a motor assembly, and on one of the parts you want to remove some of the sharp edges with a fillet where there is a lot to select manually. That is where the Selection Helper can come in super handy. Once you make one selection, the Selection Helper will suggest a range of other selections that it can make for you based on the size, shape and orientation of the geometry. If you make more selections the prediction becomes more intelligent and more relevant to what you need it to do. And in a much shorter period of time, you’ll have all the edges you want with a new fillet on them.

The Selection Helper suggests a range of selections that it can make for you based on the size, shape, and orientation of the geometry once you’ve made the first selection.


Design Assistant Mate Helper

The Mate Helper automatically inserts multiple instances of components into your assembly by recognizing and suggesting locations to replicate components.

The Mate Helper enables you to insert additional instances of duplicate components automatically, maximizing your efficiency and reduces redundant time spent installing duplicate components, such as fasteners.

The Mate Helper can identify additional instances of duplicate components as shown here in yellow and will automatically place the components so you don’t have to do it manually.


Design Assistant Sketch Helper

The Sketch Helper helps you predict what you are going to sketch next and quickly duplicates selected sketch objects and entities to multiple locations that have similar surrounding characteristics.

Let’s say you want to add some holes to a bracket, you can simply place one sketch entity and the Sketch Helper knows what to sketch next to complete the sketch automatically. It is clever enough to recognize similar features on the underlying geometry to correctly predict the sketch you need to do.

The Sketch Helper recognizes the existing sketch geometry in relation to surrounding geometry and suggests additional locations to place sketch entities.


Design Assistant Smart Mate

The Smart Mate is designed to help you create mates by dragging and holding a component in the position where you want it to mate with the surrounding components. The Smart Mate command will automatically launch when you drag a component close to the edge of another component and recognizes the correct mating faces to create fully constrained mates on the fly.

Drag and snap components into place with the Smart Mate.


Well, there you have it— four “smart” tools to help you be more productive. The Design Assistant tools become more intelligent based on your workflows. They adapt in real time to your workflows and provide constant up-to-date suggestions as you provide more input.

The tools are here to help you, not replace you. I got some advice back in the day that, “a job that will never go away is a job that requires creativity.” I do not see AI replacing us, but I do see it having a significant impact on how we work.

Thoughts? Add your feedback to the Comment section of the blog. And if you missed the chance to submit ideas to the Top Ten List you can still vote on the submissions until January 27, 2023. Get more details here.

Better yet if you’ll be attending our annual user event 3DEXPERIENCE World lets connect. Catch my sessions 3DEXPERIENCE R&D Meetup: A Chat with the SOLIDWORKS Cloud Apps R&D Teams and SOLIDWORKS on Cloud 9.

3DEXPERIENCE World is taking place in Nashville, Tenn. February 12-15, 2023 and you can register and review the sessions here. I hope to see you!


Chris Pagliarini

Chris Pagliarini

Chris Pagliarini is a Product Portfolio Manager for SOLIDWORKS. Chris has been a dedicated SOLIDWORKS user for 8+ years with exposure in several areas from research, sheet metal design, Equipment packaging & enclosures, Model-based design, and aerospace & defense design. During his free time he enjoys exploring new technology, golfing, skiing, and fishing.