Thursday, July 25, 2013

The WIRED Mecha suit and How you could design one

Remember when you where a kid and you are really into big giant Mechas you see in comic books and Saturday morning cartoons. Have you ever imagine you could wear and pilot one, looking really awesome in a costume party full of your fellow nerds, well WIRED did and they brought it to Comic Con San Diego this year! It can be seen stomping around the convention this year thrilling kids and Mecha geeks alike while doing the robot dance when prompted.

Called the WIRED Mech ( WIRED magazine), This cosplay suit stands high at 9.5 feet tall and weighs 400 pounds, it's piloted internally with mechanical sound effects and a sexy destructive robot voice. Its took the team from Legecy Effects and the Stan Wilson School 24 days to build the massive suit. It's constructed by an Aluminum skeleton chassis and fiber glass molded body panels. 

So you might want to have a go on making a suit of your own for a side hobby project. But the task looks daunting and you have to figure out how your going to design a big external aluminum skeleton first from scratch.

Try on your mechanical design skills with SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual,
a new software tool from Solidworks that simplifies the the conceptual design process for engineers to create intuitive mechanical simulation for simple and complex mechanism. 

You start of with a simple 2D  layout for your different arms and joints, navigate through the simulated  moving mechanisms to determine the effectiveness of your design. Once your happy with your sketched 2D layout you could start moving into 3D modeling to get a better sense of your design in real time simulations.

Click on the video link below to see the flexibility and creative power you can achieve with Solidworks Mechanical Conceptual 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Human powered vehicles, the pursuit of efficency and sustainability

We live in times where there is a calling for better use of our resources and better management of consumption.  As prices for fuel sours to its inevitable heights we desire lighter and more fuel efficient cars.  But there are bright and innovative groups of people out there that are creating human powered vehicles that aren’t just efficient, but really fast ones. 

Welcome to the world of streamline bicycle racing.  Take a bicycle, but a curvy body on top of it and paddle your way to a top speed of 133 Kph (current record). Every year Teams from around the World come to locations like Battle Mountain, Nevada to attend the World Human Powered Speed Challenge, an event where teams put their design and riders to the test to push boundaries of physics and aim to set the world record for fastest human powered vehicle.

Aerovelo in association with University of Toronto Human Powered Vehicle Design Team are one of the Competing Teams, consisting of Mechanical and Aerospace engineers. They strive to Build Lighter and more aerodynamic bikes and hopes to one day brake 140Kph. ACE was the inaugural streamliner designed and built by the U of T HPVDT. The primary design objectives were 1) ease-of-handling for rider training and 2) robustness and resilience. The team was very focused on CAD-based design right out of the gate, with the mechanical design and aerodynamic design both being done exclusively in Solidworks

Using Solidworks CFD capability they were able to determine laminar-flow performance, and the design of custom drivetrain components for improved efficiency and compactness.  The body shell structure is made using Carbon composites while the drivetrain is made of aluminum tubes.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Design That Matters, The people behind Project Firefly Phototherapy

10% of newborn children in the world suffer from jaundice disease which left untreated might cause brain damage, lifelong disability or even early death. The cure for jaundice is a simple procedure of exposing a child to high intensity blue light directly to their body surface. 

Parts of the developing world might not have excess to proper medical devices or provide proper care for children with jaundice. Rural clinics are burden with limited machines and under train staff to provide the correct treatment needed to cure newborns. The people at DTM (design that matters) took in the challenge and produce the Firefly phototherapy  incubator. A product designed in context to rural healthcare system. 

One of the  key innovation is providing top and bottom phototherapy with longlife, high power LEDs, providing state-of-the-art intensive treatment in a compact package. In one study, Firefly’s unique 2-sided design reduced total treatment time by 40%, showing potential for earlier  hospital discharge, lower incidence of newborn infection and freeing resources to treat more infants.

Throughout the design process, DTM had to work with local doctors and manufactures to attain a world class product that is effective and sustainable. They were able to quickly adjust their design to healthcare specifications and ergonomics making it easy to maintain and be sustainable for longer use. They where able to showcase their ideas effectively using 3D renderings and models to help source local manufactures to produce the parts they need. 

Design that Matters chose SolidWorks® Premium 3D design and simulation software to support its development efforts because it is easy to use, is widely used by the group’s student contributors, and provides a complete range of design, simulation, and rendering tools. The group also uses SolidWorks Composer™ technical communications software to demonstrate and show design concepts to advisors in developing countries. By implementing SolidWorks solutions, Design that Matters accelerated concept development, improved its ability to communicate design concepts visually, cut the cost of a phototherapy treatment unit from $7,000 to $350, and is helping doctors work to save infant lives in the developing world.

" There's no such thing as a dumb user; there are only dumb products"