Bill Vandermark

About Bill Vandermark

Bill has been working as a marketing specialist at ANSYS for the past three years and is still constantly amazed by the different types of technology that the ANSYS software can impact.

Engineering Great (and Small) Things and the Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year DecorationEditor’s Note: Today’s blog goes out in honor of the Chinese New Year being celebrated today.

Here’s a little confession: I’m not an engineer. Good, now that I got that out of the way, I also feel it pertinent to say that if you read my little bio at the bottom of the page, it does impart a very valid truth. I am constantly amazed by the different ways that companies from every industry use the ANSYS suite of products. Because of all the technological advances that I see on a day-to-day basis, I’ve noticed that I started to look at the world around me in a different way.

When most people, myself included, think of engineering achievements, we’re quick to point out headline making news like the Boeing Dreamliner that Sin Min Yap blogged about a few weeks ago, or the now-retired space shuttle program that took time this week to remember one very bad day 27 years ago. And while these are indeed achievements on a grand scale, I’ve also started noticing how amazing things can be even when they aren’t measured on the same plane of engineering as a complex airliner. Continue reading

The Trampoline – Simulating a New Childhood

image of man jumping on a trampolineAnyone growing up in the 80s (or earlier) who ran rampant around the neighborhood can easily close his eyes and picture either a back yard swing set or the local playground. Metal slides baking in the sun, monkey bars with oxidation handprints down the center, dirt ruts under the chain and rubber swings — and if you were really lucky, a trampoline.

Even though we survived each of those supposed “death traps” and today’s playgrounds are littered with recycled rubber mulch, padded edges and plastic everything, the trampoline still remains largely unchanged. Sure, the safety netting can be considered but it only prevents falling off the trampoline. Continue reading

DARPA Releases LS3 Rough-Terrain Robot Video

As someone who grew up dreaming of a galaxy far, far away, watching the video released by DARPA reminded me of the AT-ATs (all-terrain armored transports) prominently displayed in the second and third installments of the Star Wars film series. I wonder if you will agree.

image of the LS3 funded by DARPA and U.S. Marine CorpsThe Legged Squad Support System (LS3) is a prototype designed to help dismounted military personnel carry their gear though all types of terrain. It can carry up to 400 pounds of distributed weight. And, with the latest prototype, engineers have given the LS3 some decidedly non-robotic characteristics. The four legs, designed much like a human or animal leg, with a bendable “knee” joint move in tandem pairs and go at a pace of 1 to 7 mph depending on the type of surface. I don’t imagine it does well on kitchen tile, but the video shows it climbing a rocky hill, traversing a dirt road and moving through dense brush. And, just like a sentient being, when tipped or knocked over, it simply sets itself to center and stands up. Continue reading