Engineers have traditionally relied on heavy duty hardware for the computations necessary to do their jobs. With the rise of mobile devices and cloud computing, the invisible tether that keeps them bound to their desktop and mobile workstations is beginning to disappear — one engineering function at a time. Engineers are becoming more able to perform complicated tasks in the field. Driving this new freedom is a wave of powerful mobile engineering apps that perform complicated tasks on the spot in real time. And if they aren’t cheap, they’re free!
Autodesk ForceEffect Motion
First in our series of Cool Engineering Apps is Autodesk's ForceEffect Motion, a simulation app for creating and testing mechanical systems with moving parts. You would have killed to have this in Dynamics class. You can create, test and simulate the motions of things (such as scissor lifts, car engines, robotics, etc.), and it is now available on the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
ForceEffect Motion is an expansion of Autodesk ForceEffect, another simulation app that allows you to calculate forces on a static object (building, bridge, furniture, machine, etc.), removing the longhand calculations typically done on paper-and-pencil drawings or on a workstation.
“Autodesk ForceEffect Motion brings engineering to the point of the design problem that engineers are trying to solve in the field, in the office or in the classroom,” according to Robert “Buzz” Kross, senior vice president of Design, Lifecycle and Simulation at Autodesk. “Now you have the tools to develop conceptual mechanical designs right on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.”
Easy Simulation for Moving Mechanical Systems
The amount of time an app like Autodesk ForceEffect Motion might enable you to save — whether you are an engineer, student or just a DIY mechanical designer/enthusiast — comes from being able to test your concepts and design process exactly where you plan to build your device, which speeds up your ability to evaluate your own concepts and designs. ForceEffect Motion moves calculation-intensive engineering away from desktops and laptops and brings it to your mobile device.
How Does It Work?
You import an existing image or create a freehand sketch, then add in functional mechanical joints, actuators, constraints and supports. Then you can just tap objects to select, move, rotate and scale them any way you like.
The real-time solving capabilities give you instantaneous feedback on the system’s performance. You can then print it out, email it to others, and they can view a results report on any mobile device with an HTML-enabled browser.
You can also directly export your mechanism to Autodesk ForceEffect if you want to conduct a detailed static load analysis.
Autodesk ForceEffect Motion also features full integration with Autodesk 360, a cloud-based storage and collaboration platform that helps users dramatically improve the way they design, visualize, simulate and share their work with others.
Pricing and Availability
The Autodesk ForceEffect Motion app is free from the iTunes App Store for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch or from Google Play for Android devices.