There have been some discussion on this and I am just summarizing ideas.

  • Accessibility. There are a handful of commercial structural optimization packages available and they are pretty expensive. Small companies and individuals find it difficult to justify the large upfront cost. Large corporations may not have problem buying several licenses, but they still fall short of placing the software to the hands of all designers and analysts.
  • Usability. Most packages have been difficult and non-intuitive to use. The world has changed so much, with smart phones and tablets such as the Iphone and Ipad that changes people’s way of life. Today’s users needs “post-Iphone” software.
  • Productivity. So far, structural optimization packages are not very productive. Too many steps are needed to arrive at the final optimized design. For example, it used to take several days to create the stl geometry of the design in the featured image of this article.

TopShape aims to improve the above.