Great article on Hack Rod by Drew Turney on Redshift.
“Do you have a great idea for a new product but don’t have a fully equipped manufacturing plant to realize it? Thanks to a pair of California hot-rod enthusiasts, the whole manufacturing workflow—from conception to assembly—might someday be within your grasp.”
YouTube star Tom Scott recently visited our Autodesk Pier 9 to meet with my colleagues Maurice Conti, Heather Kerrick, and Evan Atherton in the Applied Research Lab to discuss robots. Big robotic colleagues Bishop and Ash make cameos appearances.
At Autodesk's Pier 9 workshop in San Francisco there are giant robot arms using welders to 3D print with stainless steel. Which seemed like a good place to talk about programming abstractions, high-level languages, training pendants, and just how safe something like a robot arm needs to be.
Also check out Tom’s video featuring Autodesk Pier 9 Artist in Residence and fashion tech innovator Anouk Wipprecht and her spider dress.
The Spider Dress That Reacts To Personal Space Invaders
Fashion-tech designer Anouk Wipprecht has built a Spider Dress, which reacts based on how close you're standing and how quickly you approached. It's based on 'proxemics': the study of personal space... although how much of that counts as science is an open question. Let's talk about Edward T Hall, about what counts as science, and what happens if you get too close to someone.
This is a really great video featuring my Autodesk colleague and team mate Maurice Conti, Director of Applied Research and Innovation providing a glimpse at how robots will augment and collaborate with humans in the future. A couple other team mates gave a cameo in the video like Evan “Robot Lover” Atherton, Heather “Robot Tamer” Kerrick, and David “Robot Whisperer” Thomas.
Learn about AR, VR and MR and the impact it will make for all of us from Autodesk Brian Pene Director of Emerging Technology, Office of the CTO.
In recent years, technological advances, coupled with a proliferation of affordable hardware and software, have made immersive technologies like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) more commercially feasible than ever.
A flood of investments into these new tools continues to fuel the market, which will grow substantially in the coming years. AR and VR will impact the world around us in a number of interesting—and beneficial—ways.
Max Moruzzi is the senior principal research scientist in our Autodesk Research and has authored an article for Techcrunch on how smart materials will change and reshape the world for better through design. This is another remarkable glimpse at the Future of Making Things.
“The IoT may well be The Next Big Thing, but maybe the attention around sensors is misplaced…
What if we didn’t even need embedded sensors to allow things to gather data about their surrounding environment? What if material could be a sensor in and of itself?
Sentient materials might sound like the stuff of sci-fi, but it’s quickly becoming a reality. A new generation of materials is being developed that can sense temperature, pressure, impact and other variables — completely removing the need for sensors.
Not only can these materials capture and relay data to the cloud, they also can reconfigure themselves on-the-fly to react to changing environmental conditions. It’s as if materials are becoming not just smart, but “alive” — and it will change the way things are designed and used in startling ways.”
It’s as if materials are becoming not just smart, but “alive.”
The article also mentions the Hack Rod project
“The Hack Rod project — which brings technology partners together with a team of automotive enthusiasts in Southern California — is out to design the first car in history built with smart materials and engineered using artificial intelligence.”
Andrew if you have not met him, is a very unique and brilliant researcher in his field and here at Autodesk working on big issues that truly impact our world like finding technology processes to cure cancer, disease,and other big challenges faces us as a species. He refers to the brain as nothing more than a “meat computer.” He works within an amazing group doing bio/nano research that people might not normally associate with Autodesk but in reality it is a perfect fit. As Andrew said in the AMA “Better software tools and AI is a GIANT part of the reason why I work with Autodesk and not a traditional biotech company.”
The link to the AMA questions and answers since the AMA is over: https://www.reddit.com/r/Futurology/comments/51ryoy/hi_my_name_is_andrew_hessel_im_a_futurist_and/
About me: I’m a distinguished researcher at Autodesk, where I’m exploring the future of biotechnology. My background is cell biology and genetics, bioinformatics. Very future oriented -- what's edgy today, where are things going in 5, 10, 20 years. I helped kick off HGP-Write, an international effort to write large genomes like the human genome with synthetic biology. Other projects include customized synthetic viruses for cancer (and other applications), next-gen DNA synthesis technology, startups, etc. I also co-chaired Singularity University's Biotech and Bioinformatics Track between 2009 and 2012. I founded the Pink Army Cooperative to explore open source biotech. Plus, I worked for Amgen for 7 years. I believe biotech is poised to follow in the footsteps of computing tech, bringing game-changing new tools, products, etc. that touch every facet of our lives.
Interesting and thought provoking quotes from Andrew in the AMA:
What do you think about the current approaches of understanding genetic code? Could machine learning play a significant role in figuring out what code does what?
andrewhessel Autodesk's Bio/Nano Research Group
Machine learning is CRUCIAL. The features in genetic code are very difficult for people to examine "by eye". The application of ML and AI to genomics is one of the most exciting areas of comp bio to emerge in recent years -- and it's just getting started. Better software tools and AI is a GIANT part of the reason why I work with Autodesk and not a traditional biotech company btw.
Hi, I just saw your conference at COFES 2016 this morning and I saw how you talked about how you were working on creating a synthetic virus to eliminate cancer in dogs. Could a synthetic virus be created to eliminate or treat some viruses like HIV? Would designing a virus to help T-cells detect the HIV virus similarly to how you are designing your virus to help cells eliminate Cancer cells work?
andrewhessel Autodesk's Bio/Nano Research Group
Hi! I think synthetic viruses are going to be the next software industry. Viruses are basically USB sticks for biology, able to load new programs into specific cells with high efficiency. So, yes, I think it will be possible to treat HIV with synthetic viruses that target the same T cells but load in antivirus programs. Plus much more... vaccines, gene therapies, antibiotics. We've just started to explore the possibilities here.
What are your thoughts on having a massive anonymous open access genetic database for researchers? (similar to thePrecision Medicine Initiative supported by President Obama)
Recent article discussing the privatization of genetic data: Why you should worry about the privatization of genetic data
andrewhessel Autodesk's Bio/Nano Research Group
Short answer: it's a good thing! Absolutely. I have long supported Open Source for genetics, biotechnology, etc. In general, all scientific data, tools, papers, etc. needs to be in the public domain. I support the Personal Genome Project and even Autodesk's bio/nano group is choosing to open source the tools they are making. The only tricky part is being anonymous. Your genome is a barcode. Once it's published, it's virtually impossible to not be identified. Lots of issues and challenges here that still need to be sorted out. Many of the same issues are being dealt with in computer/social so I think we'll figure it out.
Andrew is doing amazing things with his team at Autodesk that will benefit us all.
The robots are coming and they are not all evil but will help us make things and augment our capabilities at solving other challenges facing the world. Maurice Conti Director, Applied Research and Innovation, in the Autodesk Office of the CTO and colleague was interviewed by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers for a nice article on robotics and the research Autodesk is doing in the Applied Research Lab.
Human Augmentation: the Next Phase in Robotics
Prominent, respected public figures including Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have spoken about the dangers of the rise of artificial intelligence and robotics, which at the very least could threaten thousands of jobs and at the most could pose an existential threat to the very survival of the human race.
However, Maurice Conti, director of director of applied research and innovation at software company Autodesk, does not take such a dark view of our future relationship with technology. In fact, he believes that smart software and robotics can augment the work that humans undertake, freeing us up to develop ever more creative solutions to life’s problems.
I was surprised when the computer using Autodesk’s generative design technology Dreamcatcher mimicked nature’s optimal designs. When we were researching the next evolution in design, we found that computers could iterate design options for strength, material usage, and cost for an engineer and designer faster than the the engineer or designer alone. We ran a design on a quad rotor UAV and generative design software returned what was almost identical in form to that of a flying squirrel. To me personally it is like augmenting the knowledge of the engineer with a design AI. I remember coming up with a handful of designs for a project as a designer, but now with generative design I can effectively look at far more options in the design than I could. This new technology is not only the future of design but being used today by companies like Airbus where the weight, cost, and strength are key considerations to their designs of aircraft.
“Generative design mimics nature’s evolutionary approach to design. Designers or engineers input design goals into generative design software, along with parameters such as materials, manufacturing methods, and cost constraints. Then, using cloud computing, the software explores all the possible permutations of a solution, quickly generating design alternatives. It tests and learns from each iteration what works and what doesn’t.”
Quickly generate high-performing design alternatives—many that you’d never think of on your own—from a single idea.
Recently I edited a 3D model and created a quick video in Autodesk ReMake (formerly Autodesk Memento.) The 3D model was generated using Autodesk ReCap 360 Pro from photos taken last month using an UAS/drone in the hot windy Trona Pinnacles near Death Valley California. The ability to create 3D textured models from aerial photos opens up many possibilities in design, construction, and site mapping. Autodesk has released specific features in ReCap 360 Pro named Fly that allow you to create point clouds, geolocated maps, incorporate ground control, and automatically create orthographic images.
Short video created by Autodesk ReMake of the model.Download Trona1aerial-720p-bk (336MB)
Have you ever struggled to look at ways to innovate and used the same old process or the lack of a process? The Innovation Genome is used by Autodesk and many others and may be just what you are looking for teaching you how to ask the right questions to discover the hidden innovation opportunities in your organization and industry.
The Autodesk Innovation Genome is a research project and innovation methodology being developed at Autodesk/San Francisco. The goal of this research project is to develop a comprehensive innovation methodology comprised of new innovation techniques that are both powerful and practical. The purpose is to help people and organizations create real innovations that positively impact their organizations and the world.
Leveraging 3.4 Million Years of R&D
These innovation techniques — that are currently being used at Autodesk, by dozens of Autodesk customers, across Silicon Valley, and in 12+ countries around the world — are derived from an ongoing 10-year research project that systematically examines the greatest 1,000 innovations in human history over the past 3.4 million years. We start with the stone hand axe (the world’s first innovation), study great innovations across history (like democracy and the printing press), and continue up to current day innovations such as the Internet, microfinance, and the Tesla. To date, we have studied 350 innovations.
Discovering the True DNA of Innovation
Building on this extensive research, Autodesk has identified a previously undiscovered set of common characteristics among all true innovations — a kind of “Innovation DNA” — that has led to the creation of new innovation techniques. They are easy to learn, teach, and apply, even in organizations that have traditionally been relatively non-innovative; and they have proven extremely effective for both experienced innovators and people with minimal innovation expertise.
Check out Bill O'Connor's The Autodesk Innovation Genome presentation as it may be what you are looking for.
Autodesk colleague Maurice Conti the Director of Strategic Innovation recently visited my special Pacific Wonderland of Portland Oregon to speak at the TEDx Portland event on “The Future of Human Augmentation.” Maurice explains how design and interaction with computational systems and AI will greatly impact all of us. Maurice is an awesome teammate as well as a very creative person that doesn’t just think out side the box, but he lights the box on fire with rocket fuel and whisky and then steps into his teleporter to visit the future.
“Welcome to the Augmented Age where your natural human capabilities will be augmented by computational systems will help you think, robotics systems that help you make,and a digital nervous system that connects you far beyond your natural senses.”
The video of Maurice's TEDx presentation is now posted for everyone to experience and provoke thought. I heard comments from friends that attended like “I had no idea Autodesk was so cool.”
This is a great article by Autodesk VP of Corporate Strategy Jon Pittman on a topical tech subject the Internet of Things (IoT). Our team and Autodesk has been doing a great deal of thinking about a connected world and how it relates to the products you design using our software and technology.
Imagine the building or car that provides operating feedback to the original designers so that they can learn from and improve them and future designs anticipate more realistic use. Jon has over 150 IoT connected devices in his family and while that may sound like a large number. If you were to consider all the devices and tech you have around you even your Fitbit tracker, Nest thermostats, Roku, and your smart phone, you may be surprised how many you relay on to be connected in some way today. But beyond the consumer IoT there is a much bigger picture that Jon describes.
This may be news to many if not most people, but Autodesk’s expertise and impact extends far beyond the traditional realm of design and into the life sciences research on computational & synthetic biology. The Bio/Nanotechnology Team has performed a great deal of research, and in the past year released a technology preview of the Autodesk Research Molecule Viewer. This cloud based 3D viewing tool is intended for scientist and researchers to use and extend to assist in the development of treatments and therapies. Just hours after a paper was published in Science on the Zika virus “The 3.8 Å Resolution Cryo-EM Structure of Zika Virus”, the Zika virus model was available for viewing, exploding, and sectioning in the Molecule Viewer. The Zika virus has been causing a great deal of human impact and spreading concern in recent months. You can view the Zika virus in the Molecule Viewer on most platforms with a web browser, even your smartphone device.
Learn more about the Molecule Viewer from Autodesk Research
This is pretty amazing!
March 22nd, 2016 launch from NASA Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral to the International Space Station of the Orbital Cygnus cargo ship with the Made In Space Additive Manufacturing Facility on board. Photo by NASA.
Autodesk colleague Jonathan Knowles (@jonathanknowles) is like Mr. Science + Mr. Technology, and a great person. Jonathan recently participated in the launch of the next generation of additive manufacturing and wrote the following to explain why this is a big deal in manufacturing and how Autodesk’s technology has launched into orbit.
Made In Space is developing manufacturing technologies that are enabling people to live and work in space. The Made In Space Additive Manufacturing Facility was launched on March 22nd, 2016 and arrived at the International Space Station on March 26th, 2016. This is a first step toward putting manufacturing systems on the Moon, Mars, and on deep space missions.
The AMF is a permanent manufacturing facility on the ISS, providing hardware manufacturing services to both NASA and the U.S. National Laboratory onboard. Designed to last the entire lifetime of the ISS, AMF will be able to manufacture complex objects, with fine precision, and with various extrudable materials including flexible polymers and aerospace grade composites. Made In Space owns the AMF while NASA and other customers will pay to use it. Using replaceable subassemblies, the AMF was designed so that it could easily be upgraded to add new functionality and manufacturing methods in the future.
The AMF was designed entirely using Autodesk tools Autodesk Inventor and Fusion 360. Autodesk’s Memento reality capture technology is built into the AMF. Autodesk has been a part of Made In Space since the beginning. [Ed. Autodesk's Jonathan Knowles, has served as an advisor to the team since the company was founded.] Made In Space has collaborated with Marshall Space Flight Center’s In-Space Manufacturing Group and NASA Advanced Exploration Systems in the development of the emerging in-space manufacturing industry. Lowe’s Innovation Labs is partnering with Made In Space on developing space-optimized tools making the AMF the first hardware store in space.
In addition to the AMF, NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate has selected Made In Space for the NASA funded project, designated Archinaut™, which is designed to develop the necessary technologies to enable the first additive manufacturing, aggregation, and assembly of large and complex systems in space without astronaut extravehicular activity. Northrop Grumman and Oceaneering Space Systems will work as subcontractors to Made In Space to create the first system for 3D printing and assembling large structures in space, without direct, manual intervention on the part of an astronaut.
Archinaut is a game changer. Designing items intended to be deployed in space has traditionally been constrained by launch container size and environment survivability requirements. Add to that lift capacity limits and the high risk of launch, limited number of launch delivery options, and limited availability of astronauts for EVA, creating large space-based structures such as space stations has been a once-in-a-generation endeavor. Archinaut minimizes or removes these and other design limitations.
As we continue to explore our future off world and begin to set up the first human habitats on the moon and Mars, there will be no need to use rockets to send everything needed. We’ll have robots build build what we need using local resources.