Engineering and the built industry rely on the latest and cutting edge technologies to ensure safer construction sites, increase productivity and also make it easy to tackle more complex modern projects. Computer-aided design is one such technology which industry experts hail it as an ideal instrument to help create, modify, analyse and optimise designs.
And when Ms Hester Jackson was announced as one of the winners in the Computer Aided Three-Dimensional Interactive Application (CATIA) Summer Design Contest 2021, she felt extremely excited and honoured. It is considered one of the most prestigious digital competitions in the industry. Jackson is an industrial engineering lecturer from the faculty of engineering and the built environment at the Durban University of Technology (DUT).
The Zulu bangles
The contest pits online users against one another across the world to showcase their creativity and their designs skills virtually. The top 10 entries who received the highest likes were declared the winners of CATIA prizes. Jackson designed the Zulu bangles for the competition and it was one of those that impressed and garnered more likes. Reacting to the announcement of the news Jackson says: “I am overwhelmed, I never had any experience of 3D designing before, so when I received the opportunity to be part of the lecturers to train on the 3D experience platform, I took it, and I do not regret it at all.”
She is grateful to Laurent Marche who encouraged her to enter the competition and also envisioned the bangle. Marche, who is the leader and trainer of the 3DExperience Project at DUT, says he found Ms Jackson’s project on the Zulu bangle very exciting. The project is also supported by the French ministry of education and Dassault Systèmes Company. The project’s main objective is to train lecturers, students and partners on the latest and disruptive technologies. Ms Jackson says Marche used to visit the Victoria Market in Durban to identify projects that they can train on using 3DExperience platform.
“It could be technical projects but sometimes we can also work on fun projects. It`s a fun design and I learnt new apps and tools on the CATIA native app, and the 3D experience design software was used to design the Zulu bangles. The future idea is to print a prototype on the 3D printer,” says Ms Jackson.
She says her passion lies in online teaching and learning methods, adding that she would like to see more DUT students benefiting from the latest learning techniques to become top engineers. Says Ms Jackson: “By taking part in these competitions, we get the opportunity to receive constructive criticism from 3D designers across the world. We also get the opportunity to network with other 3D design users, and we can share these experiences with our students. Furthermore, we can see what the capability of the platforms are and connect with people all over the world.”