AU 2012 Keynote Takes a Tools-oriented Approach
Autodesk University kicked off today with Jeff Kowalski, chief technology officer, taking the stage to talk about tool making. Autodesk has shaped their vision through a global conversation with their customers to explore the power and potential of design and technology. The technology started in 1982 in a small office in Sausalito, Calif., and continues to innovate today. Kowalski shared Autodesk’s latest thinking on design and technology, with this vision making a direct impact on the tools that are designed today.
Tools have had a great impact, and its often the arrival of a new tool that expands our very vision of what we believe to be possible. Our design tools have a tremendous influence on what we can and cannot create. The limitation of our tools have placed an outer boundary on what we can conceive and create, and Autodesk is focused on pushing that boundary.
Autodesk looks at design as inspiring imagination, improving function, about form, and about fabricating things. Autodesk creates tools that perform each of these design functions.
- New tools to capture imagination include Sketchbook, 123D Design and Make
- Improving functional ideas with simulation, to know how designs will perform in the real world
- Changing forms are possible today due to the power of computing, and the quantification of design to improve performance
- Breakthroughs in digital fabrication from additive and subtractive machines, robotic assembly and nano-scale construction are radically changing how we build things
To address the shift in advanced manufacturing technology, Christine Furstoss from GE Global Research spoke about the third industrial revolution with computerized manufacturing. Product development is getting shorter and shorter today, and moves away from linear processes to more collaborative workflows. We need to move from experience-based innovation to knowledge-based innovation. Today’s process means we aren’t just building parts, we’re building in properties and changing materials. The virtual world collaborates with the physical world, creating new possibilities. We transition from design driving manufacturing to manufacturing opening up the possibilities of design.
The final transition is on managing the design process. Kowalski said that process management has been underserved by software. A focus on people and teams yields new workflows, thanks to cloud-enabled tools. Kowalski has been a proponent of an infinitely elastic computing platform, not only for heavy processing, but also as a connection point for teams and process. The cloud provides persistent awareness of the project, with a big picture view that allows projects to move forward together with project teams.
Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk, took the stage with an appreciation of young people, and how they view the world so differently than we do. He was preceded by Schuyler St. Leger, an 11-year-old maker, who talked about what we can make today. With today’s ubiquitous computing, the Internet, and personal fabrication tools Schuyler is taking advantage of next-generation design tools.
Bass walked through a number of new products and capabilities:
- ForceEffect Motion on an iPad allows you to simulate and see how things work.
- The new product FormIt allows you to see how conceptual choices relate to a building site, modeling the design in the context of the real world.
- Infrastructure Modeler allows you to bring together data and models to design and drive on a road before it is built, building in context for a safer and more efficient road.
- Simulation 360 provides a cloud-based environment to explore many design options simultaneously to find the design that works best.
- Geppetto is a new tool that allows you to populate your design with people to see how they interact and move through designed environments.
- The new visualization service, provides cloud-based capacity that removes the need to invest in high-end computers for high-end photo-realistic rendering.
- Fusion 360, announced at this year’s event, provides data management and collaboration tools for project management.
- BIM 360 Field brings the power of BIM to the construction site with access to 3D models, anywhere and on any device.
- PLM 360 (Product Lifecycle Management) has been difficult, because it has required the change of process to meet the software. This new technology is more accessible and flexible, and has seen very fast adoption.
- 360.autodesk.com is the hub to search, translate and view all the information in your projects, storing data in one place to be accessed anywhere.
Bass asserted that combining the power of the cloud, with the devices in your hands, is the biggest thing to happen to computing since the personal computer. Autodesk offers a full set of professional cloud-enabled tools that span the entire design process. The cloud complements the way that you get your work done, to maximize your creativity, your knowledge and your skills.