The 3DEXPERIENCE Lab is accelerating its expansion and bolstering its global network to develop projects that have a positive impact on society. It works with startups, giving them preferential access to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and customized assistance. The projects it supports can now be experienced in Dassault Systèmes’ Museum of Innovation.
Dassault Systèmes set up its first 3DEXPERIENCE Lab in France in 2015, and very soon expanded it into the United States and India. It now works with more than 30 startups and 15 incubator, technology and fab lab partners across the world.
The 3DEXPERIENCE Lab was designed both as an ideas laboratory and a startup accelerator, with the aim of supporting disruptive innovations that have a positive impact on society. It has also joined forces with multinational companies to accelerate promising projects in specific sectors. Its growing community of 1,200 mentors provides expertise in disciplines as diverse as design, simulation, regulation and marketing.
Since 2019, new startup incubator partners have joined the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab’s dynamic ecosystem, such as MIT Enterprise Forum CEE in Poland, Greentown Labs in the United States, Centech in Canada, OuiCrea and HAX in China, Tshimologong in South Africa, HEC business school in France and FabLab Communautique in Canada. For Frédéric Vacher, head of innovation at Dassault Systèmes, “The 3DEXPERIENCE Lab shows the power of collective intelligence, open innovation and cloud platforms in enabling disruptive innovations that align with the United Nations’ sustainable development goals”.
Dassault Systèmes’ Museum of Innovation – an immersive virtual reality experience – is a way to discover the disruptive projects being developed with the support of the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab. During the virtual tour, visitors pass through different exhibition spaces focusing on life sciences, cities and lifestyles, covering all of the Lab’s areas of activity.
At their own pace, visitors can discover projects and startups offering personalized health solutions, creating more sustainable cities and designing more environmentally friendly products. Each project has its own individual space involving a real-time interactive 3D experience. During the tour – a genuine educational expedition – visitors can find out about the background to a project and understand how it contributes to the attainment of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, before diving into a virtual simulation in which they interact with a virtual twin of the project alongside its physical prototype. This virtual reality experience exists within a digital environment in the cloud, which means that it is dynamic and rapidly deployable. The Museum was officially launched in the Atelier des Lumières’ immersive exhibition space in Paris. Dassault Systèmes has already introduced it to its offices in Boston, Pune, Shanghai and Munich and is planning to extend access to other countries in which the company operates, as well as linking up with science museums to share the experience with the general public.
The 3DEXPERIENCE Lab supports the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals. Each startup project is associated with and committed to one of these goals. For example, Agreenculture designs agricultural robots, aiming to help “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”. In the healthcare sector, Damae Medical (devices to detect skin cancer), FEops (simulations for heart interventions), Gyrolift (new mobility solutions), Inali (prosthetic hands), PKvitality (bio-wearable solutions), Digital Orthopaedics, Exact Cure and Gyrolift aim to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”, while Leka intends to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. The goal of Eel Energy and SparkCharge is to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”, while SplashElec is helping to “reduce inequality within and among countries”. XSun’s drones and XYT’s urban vehicles, meanwhile, intend to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.
The aim of the 3DEXPERIENCE for Good hackathon was to design a prosthetic hand for the Ellen Meadows Prosthetic Hand Foundation to distribute to vast numbers of people around the world. There were three key requirements: the hand had to be cheap to produce, simple and durable.
More than 12 million people around the world have had a forearm amputation. In the last 15 years, the Ellen Meadows Prosthetic Hand Foundation has given away 50,000 LN-4s: low-cost, light, durable and functional prosthetic hands designed using pre-CAD technology.
Thanks to the generosity of its donors, the Ellen Meadows Foundation works with individuals and organizations around the world to find people who would benefit from one of these hands. The Foundation distributes its hands in three ways: through one-off events, partner organizations in individual countries, and responses to individual requests.
With the 3DEXPERIENCE for Good hackathon, Dassault Systèmes joined forces with the Ellen Meadows Foundation to upgrade the LN-4 and reinvent the way prosthetic hands are designed. The aim was to design a new model that would meet certain usage and manufacturability requirements. Although asked to focus on the technical design, participants were also asked to factor into their design the need to ship more than 1 million of the hands, free of charge, to the most distant corners of the world. The five teams consisted of designers and engineers from various backgrounds, including students, teachers and those working in industry, all recognized in their fields and supported by Dassault Systèmes experts.
Unlike traditional hackathons that take place over a weekend, the five teams of design specialists each spent 120 hours, over the space of a month, bringing their ideas to life. Using their unique skills and talents and a range of leading-edge solutions based on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, each team’s members collaborated remotely to develop their designs. The first time they met in person was to present the fruits of their labor, on February 10, 2020 at the 3DEXPERIENCE World 2020 event in Nashville, USA.
Team 1, Prosthetic ARMada, improved on the Ellen Meadows Foundation’s initial hand by enabling it to grasp objects: each finger can lock individually and whole-hand organic modeling makes it look similar to a real hand.
Team 2, Manbus Postca 2.0, proposed a device fitted to the forearm with mechanical locking to give a more secure grip.
Team 3, DextR-3, produced the winning design: a functional and simple hand inspired by the original design, but with an opposable thumb and index finger and whole-hand grip. The design is ambidextrous and the hand can be assembled in a left- or right-hand configuration using a simple screwdriver.
Team 4, Xtreme Team 4 Good, developed a mechanism that is activated by bending the arm. The hand can grip objects but also open doors, and more closely resembles a human hand.
Team 5, The Five, presented an articulated hand that can perform the main movements of a human hand.
For the last four years, La Fondation Dassault Systèmes has been supporting the education and research sector, and encouraging Dassault Systèmes employees to get involved.
Dassault Systèmes firmly believes that virtual universes can improve real life and help create a more sustainable world. La Fondation Dassault Systèmes uses a skills-based sponsorship approach with Dassault Systèmes employees helping to train and support young people interested in science and engineering careers. Here are four examples of that collaboration, showing how it helps young people and how the employees benefit too.
Virtual worlds can help teachers motivate students and try out new ways of learning. In 2019, for the third consecutive year, students at the Apprentis d’Auteuil school in Meudon, France, took part in the “Course en cours,” a novel educational project that gives students the chance to dream up, design, make, test and race a miniature racing car, and take part in a national competition. Dassault Systèmes employees helped these students, who have special social and educational needs, to model and build their car, as well as prepare an exhibition stand and an oral presentation. Stéphanie Tamhoua, an employee who took part in the project, explained: “Working with young people is a real challenge: it makes you question your preconceptions and forces you to think of different ways of passing on your knowledge.” David Bonner added: “I love working with teenagers in general. It's a very interesting stage of life.”
Working with young people is a real challenge: it makes you question your preconceptions and forces you to think of different ways of passing on your knowledge.
The Institut de l’Engagement works with young people who, because of their educational, cultural, social or geographical background, financial situation or disability, have difficulties developing their plans for their future. Each year, the Institute helps 300 young people aged 16 to 30 to realize their plans, such as resuming their studies or starting a business. Dassault Systèmes employees sit on the selection panel, offer mentoring to those selected and take part in the Campus de l’Engagement, a three-day event that brings together the program participants with 150 speakers from partner companies to talk, think, work and interact in a mutually enriching way. Together, they take part in workshops, round tables, talks and debates, thinking of ways to address the major economic, social and environmental challenges of today. Laurent Poinot, who sat on the selection panel and mentored an aspiring engineer, said: “When you take part in this kind of thing, you always get out more than you put in. Initiatives like this give new meaning to our day-to-day work.”
Sébastien Massart co-led a session entitled “Creating experiences: from the virtual to the real?” during the Campus de l’Engagement event, taking him out of his usual working environment to talk to a curious and engaged audience.
It’s very fulfilling to pass on my knowledge and apply for purposes that are different to those I deal with every day.
In the 3Défi challenge, teams of junior high-school students, supported by their technology teachers, create a fictitious startup to design and 3D print a smartphone holder. The initiative was developed jointly by the La Main à la Pâte Foundation – set up by France’s Académie des Sciences and elite university ENS – and La Fondation Dassault Systèmes. Each team designs prototypes using 3D design software and then 3D prints them at their school. The aim is to encourage innovation and creativity among students and introduce them to both maker culture and the world of startups. Students have the chance to meet professionals and find out about technology careers and entrepreneurship. Philippe Minez said:”Working with these students is a valuable experience. The time we spend together, seeing their progress, gives real meaning to my work with La Fondation.” Senior high-school students are not forgotten either. At the Lycée Louis-Bascan, final-year students of science and technology, with the focus on manufacturing and sustainability, receive help completing their technology projects. Specialist talks are arranged to give them valuable information about innovative business practices and to help them understand aspects such as “design thinking.” “Taking part in these projects gives me great satisfaction,” explains Sébastien Smetryns. “It’s very fulfilling to pass on my knowledge and apply for purposes that are different to those I deal with every day.”