The Autodesk Gallery at One Market in San Francisco celebrates design — the process of taking a great idea and turning it into a reality. With more than 20 different exhibits regularly on display that showcase the innovative work of Autodesk customers, the gallery illustrates the role technology plays in great design and engineering. I am one of about 80 gallery ambassadors. One of the exhibits in the gallery is Real-time 3D Capture and Analysis.
When you build a tall building like the Shanghai Tower, something that can make it fall over is wind. As part of designing the Shanghai Tower, the architects performed a wind tunnel analysis on their design long before the first shovel hit the dirt. One of the exhibits in the gallery is our Autodesk Flow Design exhibit. You may recall that Flow Design started out as Project Falcon on Autodesk Labs. As its name suggests, Autodesk Flow Design can be used to simulate air flow over a surface.
This exhibit is pretty simple. It is powered by a Microsoft Kinect unit. A Kinect is nothing more than a low-cost scanner. Scanning is a technique that allows real world objects to be brought into the computer. Flow Design uses the scanner to shoot out infrared rays, measure how long it takes for them to bounce back and constructs a 3D model from the scanned data. Computation fluid dynamics, such as wind tunnel analysis, allows for cars to be optimized to produce the highest gas mileage, airplane propellers to be forged to generate the most lift, and buildings to be constructed so they don’t blow over. By combining low-cost hardware with easy to use software, anyone can visualize themselves in a wind tunnel.
Gallery visitors are encouraged to try it for themselves. Here's how they do it:
- Push the red button.
- Stand on the marker. Quick, you have 5 seconds.
- Strike a pose and stand still.
- Stand back and watch Autodesk Flow Design perform its computations.
They can then see their results and determine if they are aerodynamic or not.
The Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco is open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. There is a guided tour on Wednesdays at 12:30 pm. Admission is free. Visit us.
The Wind is alive in the lab.