Jeff Kowalski is our Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Autodesk Labs is part of the Office of the CTO. The acronym for our division is OCTO so our mascot is the octopus.
The other day I was in Jeff's office. I was literally in the office of the CTO. Jeff recently had some new shelves installed so he could display some of the work done in:
- Autodesk Research,
- Within Lab,
- Corporate Strategy & Engagement,
- Emerging Technology,
- Strategic Research, and
- Design Research
— all parts of his OCTO division.
When Jeff needed brackets for these shelves, my team member, Arthur Harsunvakit, came to the rescue. He used Project Dreamcatcher to generate the design.
Project Dreamcatcher 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. This is important research because it ties into the future of making things.
Arthur was able to select shelf brackets that were suited to the needs of Jeff's office. There are small differences among the six. He then 3D printed them at our Pier 9 office, and our facilities department mounted them to the wall. Voila.
You can learn more about Project Dreamcatcher at:
Shelving is alive in the lab.