Reflecting on his AU experience, Autodesk Labs Software Architect, Ben Cochran, filed this report.
Technology in isolation can be fun to play with and can inspire additionally development and new business ideas. But, a new technology in isolation does not immediately help users. Multi-touch is a good example of this. Prototype versions of multi-touch have been around for more than a decade, but how does this help end users? The truth is that it does not. An extremely expensive one of a kind multi-touch device has no direct effect on end CAD users' day to day activities. This is an example of technology in isolation.
It takes multiple technologies coming together before change happens. At Autodesk® University this year, Autodesk® Labs® demoed multi-touch using a modified version of Autodesk® Mudbox® using the Windows® 7 multi-touch API running on an HP® TouchSmart®. While the modified version of Autodesk® Mudbox® and Windows® 7 are not shipping software, we can all see how multi-touch technology will change the way we all interface with the computer. Multi-touch is moving from a technology in isolation towards a common fully supported technology.
Multi-touch still has a way to go, the same way the mouse has gone through many changes to get to the two-button plus wheel that we all use today. This is the mission of Autodesk Labs, to validate new technologies. Labs does not do this in isolation, but instead we work with users. We rarely invent new technologies but instead we find new technologies that may currently be isolated and have potential to change the way users work. Labs works with these technologies to move them out of isolation towards a common fully supported technology.
Involving users to get feedback is alive in the lab. Your experience results in our innovation.