Concept Generation Software
The Inspiration behind solidThinking Inspire is to put the 3D model at the center of everything. The model serves as a menu. Users can click entities in the model to edit them directly. The interface is designed to be immersive, icons float in the same world as the user model and each is rendered out as a 3D element in the scene. A set of closely related functions are grouped into a single icon, thus reducing the visual complexity of the UI. We've organized over 60 functions into 14 visuals.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
solidThinking Inspire is concept generation and inspiration for better products. Inspire can help its users quickly create dramatically lighter structures and understand the effect of material placement in whatever they’re developing. Inspire is designed to be as simple to use as possible utilizing large and visual contextual icons to perform hundreds of functions. Similar applications can take months to fully master where Inspire takes at most four hours and often no training at all to learn.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
Using solidThinking Inspire is extremely easy, to start, the user can either use the simple sketching tools in Inspire to sketch an initial design. Alternatively, the user can also import an existing design that they would like to optimize. Next the user must select part of their model that they would like to optimize. This is called the design space. Next, the user must assign materials and loads to the model. As an optional step, users can then use advanced shape controls and manufacturing constraints to make sure their final part is optimized for manufacture. Inspire will then run through its process and export the ideal part based on all of the previous steps. Users can then control the results and export the design proposal.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
solidThinking Inspire was officially released to the marketplace in 2009 and has since gone through multiple updates, however, parts of its backend system have been in development for over 20 years.
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
Inspire is based on a 20+ year old technology that is used in multiple industries including aerospace and automotive. This technology is called Altair OptiStruct. OptiStruct is an industry proven, modern structural analysis solver for linear and non-linear structural problems under static and dynamic loadings. It is the market-leading solution for structural design and optimization. The strong core of OptiStruct makes Inspire extremely accurate. The goal of Inspire is to bring these industry leading tools to non simulation experts in order to offer a broader audience a concept design and generation tool that is easy to learn and use.
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
solidThinking, unlike many competitive engineering and design products runs natively on both Windows and Mac OS X operating systems. The entire file size for the software is around 500mb and it runs directly on user’s desktop workstations.
software, optimization, concept generation, product design, 3D Printing, Additive Manufacturing
When creating Inspire, other than the backend coding and technical creation of the product, one of the biggest challenges was laying out the user interface. The goal with the interface of Inspire was to create an immersive experience that would be easy for the user to use and quickly master. Multiple hand drawn mockups were created and we worked very closely with multiple individuals surveying them and asking questions like “If you were to click this icon, what function would you want to take place”. This all resulted in great feedback and helped us to create the extremely visual, yet multi-functional icon based user interface of Inspire.
TEAM MEMBERS (5) :
James Dagg - Chief Technical Officer, Jim Hassberger - President, Andrew Bartels - Program Manager, and
solidThinking Team, 2013.