3DVIA goes 3D

3DVIA Studio Stereoscopic immersionLast week, Dassault Systemes announced that the free download of the new 3DVIA Studio development environment now includes drag and drop stereoscopic 3D.  They state that this allows any user of the 3DVIA Studio to quickly create a “3D experience”, not only for 3D monitors and TVs, but also for non-stereoscopic screens using the traditional red-blue glasses.

They claim the new functionality in their free 3DVIA Studio application will help developers and “average customers”.  3DVIA Studio comes with tutorials that can get users started with this functionality within minutes.

I’ve personally not dabbled with the stereoscopic toys in 3DVIA Studio yet.  I did try out 3DVIA Studio recently, and I’m looking forward to playing around with it more.  For now, here’s a quick introductory video about the new fucntionality.

Social Media Aided CAD

Companies like Saleforce.com are changing the very nature of business communications by embedding social media technology within their products (Chatter). There are engineering software companies that also understand the value of this new media and how to use it within CAD and PDM applications.  Communication between collaborating engineers doesn’t have to be limited to face-to-face or phone conversations, as these methods are not always practical.

Though seemingly not as developed as solutions from Salesforce.com, PTC (maker of Pro Engineer and Windchill)  is offering a “repackage” of social-networking features as part of a product development system, termed Social Product Development.  This takes several forms under the ProductPoint label.  Included in their set of solutions is a wiki style design log and a chat application which may increase communication between engineering collaborators.

The model-wiki function offered by PTC in ProductPoint is a critical idea.  At first glance, there doesn’t seem like much of a difference between it and SolidWorks’ Design Journal. However, the ability to access the model-wiki from the PLM environment is a big bonus that takes design collaboration to new levels that are becoming increasing important in the engineering environment. There can still be drawbacks to this approach. Seriously, to have true wiki functionality would require a lot of crazy coding within the wiki.  The PTC model-wiki strikes a good next-step to improve design collaboration.

The instant message functionality seems a bit redundant.  There are hundreds of chat programs now available.  I’m left wondering if yet another one is necessary and if it is really all that useful to have it embedded inside of my CAD application.

Even still, there is something else compelling about bringing social product development into product design.  The file lock, unlock and out-of-date pop-up notifications (MS Office style) seem like they can be extremely useful.  Another impressive development is the collaboration workspace.  The PTC promotional video is worth a look to get a sense of how they’ve implemented these concepts within the design process: