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Engineering in Second Life




In my last blog, I gave an introduction to virtual worlds. If you are interested in Virtual Worlds for engineering, I thought I’d share some information on an upcoming event and some links to interesting places.

First of all, I will be doing a Second Life presentation Tuesday, July 22 at 9:30 SLT (12:30 EST). It will be an introduction to FEA but is also some continued experimentation with virtual worlds. I’ll make use of Femap Express toward the end. Even if you are not a Femap Express user, it is very similar to the Strengh Wizard in NX and Cosmos Express in SolidWorks so it should be useful to anyone wanting to know more about FEA.

Everyone is welcome to attend even if you just want to see what these virtual worlds and Second Life are like. We haven’t done a lot of advertising about this as it is a learning experience too. Of course, people reading my blog get special treatment with this notice grin

If you haven’t used SL before, its a good to get a login, practice flying, teleporting and set up your speaker to hear what is being said. You can get the login here:

Once SL is installed, you can use SLURLS (Second Life URLs) to teleport to SL locations form web sites and blogs. I’ll add a few engineering related SLURLs at the end.

If you are interested in knowing what is happening with engineering in SL, one web site to visit is “Grid Works”. CivilE Writer (Pam Renoir in real life) is a professional engineer who runs this site and an online magazine. She has also set up an engineering group within Second Life.

As engineers, there are a number of interesting places to visit in Second Life. If you are just interested in CAD, you can visit our own island or those of a number of other CAD companies:

Siemens Innovation Connection



(why am I linking to the competition? According to social media guru Jeremiah Owyang, “if I put your interests first, you will come back to me” ).

If you are interested in engineering technology, or how others are making use of Second Life, some good locations are:

NASA and the Space Flight Museum

Public works Island

TED Conference


There are others and the list is growing. If you know a good one, post a comment!

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I have attended the Mark’s session on FEA at SL. It was well planned and well executed. He has driven us from the basics of FEA to some unique features of FEMAP. We even had a demonstration of Tensile strength testing on a UTM. And the hall had a lot of props on FEA to add to the mood grin.

It was my first experience on a Virtual learning at SL. And it was worth the time spend to get exposed to the possibilites available in the Virtual World. Thanks Mark!

Siemens Experimenter

I recorded the session and posted it here

I’m not the greatest camera man, but I was able to capture all the content.

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would like to know if Solid Edge or NX could be used to build second life models. What file format is used to export the files into Second Life. I am littleturtle scribe in second life. I really like the presentation you did on SL for CAE. I actually displayed it in class when you presented the information.


Hi Patrick,

This is something we have looked at. Recall that we sponsored some work by the University of Cincinnati to study bringing JT file formats into Second Life.

Having said that, there are some technical issues with Second Life that make this a bit hard.  First, they only support a limited set of primitives (i.e. cylinders, tori, spherical, prismatic) and not much in the way of boolean operations (i.e. removing a cylinder from a cube to create a hole).

They are looking at more complex data types such as mesh surfaces. However, even here, a CAD model can have a lot of surfaces and SL limits you on prim count.

Having said that, the Virtual World technology is changing quickly so it will be interesting to see how long these difficulties remain.


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I think we’ll see greater adoption of Second Life’s open source knock-off’s, since they can react independently to the needs of the CAD community in much the way that Blender3D is rapidly progressing to fill the needs of the CG community (new release today, including what appears to be an amazing upgrade to the built-in game engine). Recent news of IBM’s deal with FIT to (further) develop a virtual world-based PLM for the fashion industry - using OpenSim - probably points the way. While I like what Croquet offers, the lack of widespread interest/support for SmallTalk/Squeek is a major issue.

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Thanks for sharing all these great links. Specially I like the link Second Life presentation Tuesday, July 22 at 9:30 SLT (12:30 EST).

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I have read many article regarding to this topic and done lots of research for the same. but here i get something new.thanks for sharing.