SolidWorks World 2010 General Session – Monday (part3)

James McLurkin isn’t the most polished of presenters, but he is extremely interesting.  In a plug for SolidWorks, McLurkin stated, “I’m not just a SolidWorks speaker.  I’m also a client.”  He is an engineer and roboticist specializing in swarm robotics.  He demonstrated his swarm of little micelike robots at SolidWorks World this year.  He talked about how they move round within the group, including comments about communication limitations between of a swarm.  Though his technology and research may one day lead to the great robot revolution, he stated that will not likely occur in our time.  “Only a handful of robots can open a door, and none if you have to pull [it open].”  He gleefully added, “If the robot revolution happened tomorrow, you’d be perfectly safe just by closing your door.”  I still say the robot revolution will one day come, and I welcome our future metallic overlords (once they are in power, of course).

McLurkin talked for some time about “Nerd Pride” and extolled engineers to release their nerd to the world.  This can be done in a number of ways, such as giving nerdy gifts, voting for education candidates, helping out schools and related projects, teaching, etc.

At the press conference that followed, McLurkin was asked about the value of simulation versus real world.  He answered, “the problem with simulation is that you can only test what you put in.”  He also talked about the difference of biological inspiration and biological mimicry.  To him, biological inspiration is understanding and applying how nature works; biological mimicry is simply copying a successful system within nature.  Though I understand his general point, I do not think he fully made clear any meaningful distinction as they would both seem to be interrelated.

Author: fcsuper

As a drafter, mechanical designer and CAD engineer, I've been in the mechanical design field since 1991. For the first 8 years of my career, I was an AutoCAD professional. I utilized AutoLISP and many other AutoCAD customization features to streamline drafting activities for 6+ drafters and designers. I authored several custom functions, one of which was published in the March 1997 issue of Cadalyst Magazine. Since 1998, I've been used SolidWorks non-stop. I've worked to utilize the SolidWorks' user environment to simplify drafting and design activities for 20+ engineers. I've created this website to provide current information about SolidWorks from a variety of contributors. More recently, I am now employed by Dassault Systemes as SOLIDWORKS Sr. Product Definition Manager to improve drawing, annotation and MBD related areas.

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