Here s how I spent my Tuesday morning:
Gary Hercules is our Marketing Specialist on Worldwide Education team. Autodesk is hosting a large group of college interns for the summer. To share Autodesk's thoughts on the future of making, Gary hosted a learning experience in the Autodesk Gallery. The event featured Fusion 360 and the future of learning.
Fusion 360 is the first 3D CAD, CAM, and CAE tool of its kind. It connects the entire product development process in a single cloud-based platform that works on both Mac and PC. Though our group has 4 interns specifically working with Fusion 360, this was an opportunity for all Autodesk interns to learn Fusion 360.
Jeff Lee is an Application Engineer on our Education team. Jeff conducted a lab where the interns created a Batman-inspired iPhone 6 case.
All of the interns were successful with their designs.
Mickey McManus is Chairman & Principal at MAYA Design and is currently a visiting Research Fellow at Autodesk. He is a pioneer in the field of collaborative innovation, pervasive computing, human-centered design, and education, and he holds 9 patents in the area of connected products, vehicles, and services. Mickey co-authored the book Trillions: Thriving in the Emerging Information Ecology. At Autodesk, Mickey is exploring the implications for design, business, technology, and education of a future where computing ceases to be confined to any particular, "box," but instead is freely accessible in the ambient environment. Some call this coming age the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) or the era of Pervasive Computing and characterize it as a time when atoms and bits combine to form a new kind of information ecology. As part of these explorations, Mickey has been wandering around Autodesk, asking questions, fostering conversations, learning by making stuff whenever possible, and digging deeply into Autodesk products and research initiatives, to learn (and to help us understand) where Autodesk is going, and how we can be an integral part of cultivating a future where innovators can thrive and their efforts are in essence "born trillions-ready."
Mickey started out by explaining to the interns how "research and development" is often based on forward chaining where one starts with the here-and-now, recognizes present trends, and extrapolates them forward. He noted that Arthur C. Clarke was a British science fiction writer, science writer and futurist, inventor, undersea explorer, and television series host — best known as a co-writer of the screenplay for the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. Arthur C. Clarke is often quoted as saying "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." but where do these sufficiently advanced technologies come from? Many come from a type of research and development based on backward chaining. Backward chaining is where one imagines a future glorious state and works backward to arrive at that. In other words, one creates a vision of what might be, of what could be, and then figures out what would have to happen to realize that vision. Autodesk conducts research and development in both directions.
The future of the future of making things exists at the nexus of three convergences.
- Internet of Things
- Digital Manufacturing
- Machine Learning
The fundamental opportunity for the future (interns today but employees tomorrow) lies in connecting designing, making, and using. This vision will be realized by leveraging three technological disruptions — internet of things, digital manufacturing, and machine learning. Devices will talk among themselves, make decisions, and act accordingly. Digital manufacturing will allow devices to play an even greater role in the making of other devices. Machine learning is the foundation that makes all of this possible. In this way, places, things, and media are designed and made, and then their use directly influences their design. (I think many of the interns' minds were blown.)
The morning was rounded out by Jennifer Chen, a Fusion 360 advocate at UC Berkeley.
As President of the 3D Modeling Club at Berkeley, she works with Fusion 360, Arduino computers, and 3D printing to bring her projects to life. After a summer at Autodesk, all of the interns could definitely relate.
It was a full morning indeed.
Interns are alive in the lab.