Brian Mathews, the leader of Autodesk Labs gave a media briefing today in which he updated his Seven Technology Trends lecture with example projects.
1. Human-centered Design has been an ongoing focus, and there are three strong practical examples from Autodesk Labs that highlight this.
- Inventor Fusion – connect parametric modeling with direct manipulation workflows, and there is zero installation of the software. The emphasis is on natural human-centric manipulation.
- Project Vasari – human centered design, with conceptual design and analysis
- Community Commands – just-in-time learning with the software anticipating user commands, and showing the user the types of commands that experts would use at the various design phases.
2. Reality Capture has progressed rapidly, with laser scanning coming within reach to many professionals now, with laser scanners at $40K that used to cost more than $150K
- Autodesk is moving quickly to harness laser point clouds, and have working prototypes now that allow for shape extraction from point clouds within AutoCAD.
- Project Photofly allows photo scene modeling that allows you to snap to vertices in photos to create a 3D model. 3D models can be quickly created from photographs, and they use meshes that remove 90% of the data in order to stream quickly. The technology has come a long way, allowing you to take measurements, and to quickly create 3D realities.
- Project Galileo – this effort is brand new, and coming to Labs in a few weeks. This effort meshes city-scale modeling and editing, and allows users to bring together 2D geospatial models, 3D, BIM, etc.
3. Infinite Computing/Cloud Computing augments the design process with additional resources and computing power
- Inventor Optimization Preview – allows designers working in Inventor to use Web-based simulation to assist in the engineering side of design, minimizing weight and cost while improving product safety.
4. Digital Reality more closely models practical considerations within the software
- Project Krypton – analyzes expense, sustainability and ability to manufacture with background visualization and analysis that assist the design process.
- Project Neon – the newest cloud rendering service that allows you to see several renderings at a time, with physics-based feedback
5. Digital to Analog (Augmented Reality)
- Autodesk will have a lot to offer in this space, and does have some early offerings to take design data to handhelds. Nothing new was demonstrated, but there were hints that there is a lot to come here.
6. Cloud Data and Search this capability is threaded through many of the examples above, where online data helps speed the design process by offering libraries as well as expert intelligence.
7. Network Effect (Software as a Service)
- When you network things they become more powerful, and Autodesk has had a long history of harnessing this capability, starting with Buzzsaw. There are 17 different projects that are hosted Web Services currently, with more to come.
- Project Twitch – delivers desktop applications over the Internet, even though the application is running on the cloud. Can use an iPad or less powerful computer as a client, even handheld devices. The offering has evolved to the point where they are now running AutoCAD LT over the Internet, with no discernible latency.
Autodesk Labs provides the “after next” view, and their approach of prototyping this functionality to their users provides great feedback on bringing this functionality to their users. There are a great deal of truly exciting things happening here to bring more visualization, simulation and analysis functionality to the Autodesk suite of products, and more seamless transitions between the different tools.