Wozniak: Creative Engineer

Last night I went to dinner with a few folks, and the debate got heated. If you know me, this might not surprise you. I had been pretty quiet all night, just taking it in, letting other people get their chance, because I can have my say another time. I let things pass until one fellow commented  along the lines of “creative people and engineers” or something to that effect, but certainly the upshot was that engineers are not creative.


I hope those same folks had their horizons broadened a little today by sitting in on Steve Wozniak’s keynote address. This is a guy that is engineer geek through and through. The way he dresses, grooms himself, and the way he speaks. Even though he was an electrical engineer, his creativity consisted in the same sorts of things as other engineering creativity, doing more with less, unexpected uses from standard components, creative problem solving, and in his words, “using things the way they aren’t supposed to be used”.


As a keynote address, I would like to congratulate SolidWorks on an excellent choice! In stark contrast to the dynamic duo selected for the Vegas keynote last year who essentially kept telling the audience how little they thought of engineers, the Woz was spot-on relevant to the focus of the conference, which is centered on engineering. This is the kind of guy I want to hear from. This is relevant to the type of work I do.


If you have not heard “the Woz” tell his story, I highly recommend you get his book, iWoz. I have not read the book, but I plan to, and if it tells his story like he told it in person, it is an inspiration for creative engineering professionals who build and invent. There is nothing pretentious about this guy.


One of Wozniak’s passions is education. He has been teaching kids in his spare time, out of the limelight. A lot of his philosophy sounds much like the philosophy that drives most user group leaders to share their knowledge. During his keynote,  he said “everything was about giving technology help and asking for technology help” in reference to his experiences with the Home Brew Computer Club in the 70s.


I’ve got a lot more to write about this, but I’ve got to run to get the bus for a SWW event. Check back later for the rest of the story.

11 Replies to “Wozniak: Creative Engineer”

  1. Hi Matt,
    I am a student in biomechanical engineering in Hong Knog. I would like to know if i can have the zip file of the knee implant to have a deeper look at it.

  2. Thanks for the article, greatly interesting.
    Could you send me the zip file so I can have a deeper look at it.
    Many thanks in advance.

  3. Hi Matt,
    Thanks for the insight. I have something similar with splines. Cna you send me a zip file of your model. Thanks

  4. Hi Matt, great work…
    I am an student in biomechanical and I would like to know if it is possible to have the zip file of the knee implant because I have a school project to studying these type of implant…
    Please let me know if you can send it to me.
    Thanks in advance

  5. For the hip implants I worked on, scale would not always work since some of the part’s size paramaters did not scale evenly through all sizes. As rh part got bigger, areas of the model had to be “beefed” up in a non linear scale….some….not all.

  6. I’ve wondered often how people (as in… professionals) detail and model such shapes. I don’t do them often myself. I’ve got a bonnet scoop to do and that will be challenging.

    Embedded edrawings just wont seem to work for me. Just a ZIP File downloads would be great.

  7. Yep…and I worked for one of those companies and they used Unigraphics. Matt’s model was much cleaner. Biggest problem is UG doesn’t do sketching very well……maybe thats why they decided to concentrate on this Sync Tech we are hearing so much about. Although I’m not sure sync tech would work on this part.

    One interesting thing to consider is that this part actually has a family of sizes. Maybe 10 or so for vry small and very large people, and of course everyone in between. So a real challenge would be figuring out how to make the part size up and down parametrically.


    I’m working on another organicly shaped medical product, and we have to do that – make sizes. I have used Scale features. Some features don’t get scaled, but stay the same size between sizes, stuff like screw holes for example, so those features go after the Scale features in the tree.

  8. Matt

    Nice blog. I always find it interesting to see how models are built up and I often use eDrawings to communicate and gain feedback. Even technophobes, after spending two minutes with eDrawings, start liking it and never look back. Beats writing down their comments and trying to explain awkward places on a model with “re-design the funny dangly thing under the 10th sharp piece next to the sort of purpley fuzzy doobry” etc etc. I find it’s very easy to follow your blog, because you can just right-click the link and open in a New Tab and view when you’re finished reading the sentence, plus you can keep all the drawings open and re-read, the tabs stay in order too!

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