As I blogged yesterday, we had interns work with us over the summer. One intern was Brittany Presten.
Brittany is a glutton for punishment. This is her sixth year interning at Autodesk (started in high school) where she has done stints with our Gallery and Bio/Nano teams. Last year she helped us put Fusion 360 through its paces by designing and fabricating a glove that transmits movement commands to a matching glove worn by another person. She is a biomechanical engineering graduate from Stanford and will start graduate school at Stanford in the fall.
This year, Brittany's assignment was to consider what it would be like to have Project Dreamcatcher functionality integrated into Autodesk Fusion 360.
Autodesk Fusion 360 is our cloud-based 3D CAD, CAM, and CAE tool. It has a desktop component that connects the entire product development process in a single cloud-based platform that works on both Mac and PC. It is a perfect solution for engineering situations that do not require all of the complexities handled by Autodesk Inventor.
Project Dreamcatcher is our research project that allows designers to specify functional requirements like material type, manufacturing method, performance criteria, and cost restrictions, and based on these design requirements, Dreamcatcher searches a procedurally synthesized design space to evaluate a vast number of generated designs for satisfying the design requirements. The resulting design alternatives are presented back to the designer along with the performance data of each solution. The designer can then select the alternative based on the performance data or other factors such as aesthetics. In other words, instead of modeling a design by hand, analyzing it, failing, and iteratively updating the design by hand until it passes the analysis, Project Dreamcatcher generates designs and shows them to the designer who can pick one.
Here is the combined workflow that Brittany envisioned:
She arrived at this by using both tools to imagine, design, and create a chair with the assistance of some of our other teammates. The fabrication was done at the Autodesk Pier 9 office and the woodshop of Autodesk CEO, Carl Bass.
After using Fusion 360 to create seed geometry to get the process started, here is Dreamcatcher in action:
Here were Brittany's goals for the project:
She had some suggestions for both the Fusion 360 and Dreamcatcher teams.
Here's an in-progress shot of the chair:
By the way, the fabricated chair is being placed in our CTO's office. It's good to be the king. :-) Actually, she and Technical Assistant to the CEO, Arthur Harsuvanakit (who helped on the first one), may fabricate a second one that Brittany can take to school.
Sitting down is alive in the lab.