Interview with Paul Sullivan technology evangelist and head of communications at Autodesk

Paul Sullivan was visiting Mexico, and 3DCadPortal  had a nice chat to find out his views on the trends and technologies that Autodesk is focused on, including generative design, machine learning, internet of things, additive manufacturing, and, they also revealed a new release. Here are the responses.


Paul Sullivan de Autodesk



Autodesk's vision

"Autodesk's vision is to help people imagine, design and create a better world by providing tools to do so. We seek to empower people with these resources, so you can imagine how to make the best world for everyone’s lives, the cities, countries, while enabling them do something unique and different. This could mean, for example, 3d printing a prosthetic for a country with limited resources, or creating previously unthinkable new ways to design cars while reducing the carbon footprint. Our company vision extends from our CEO down to all levels, and we do live by this vision daily.
We make tools for people who make things. We are focused on providing software to enable architects, engineers, builders, shipbuilders, equipment designers, game developers, film do their job. As we move into this new era people have access to more tools, and people are doing more than ever before thanks to this. Those who thought they would never have access to is type of software, now have the opportunity to do so.”

In an AEC / BIM environment how does Autodesk help create a better world?


"Negative economic impacts have affected the architecture and builder sectors; yet Mexico has the talent to excel in all these jobs.  Autodesk helps by providing support with the latest technology.

We are now entering a transition, where the AEC segment is thinking about innovation, and using new technologies. In the past the construction managers used older tools, such as hammers, drills and other equipment. Now you see more management staff walking around with tablets, iPhones or iPads, using pre-fabrication techniques, as this can help manage the project better. Now Drones and 3D scanning can be used to monitor the project. New skills are also shaping the new AEC segment. So the challenge these workers now have will be, how to imagine and how to build buildings, roads and infrastructure.”

Then we talked about intelligent cities and buildings. The project must be designed with a view of the entire environment, so AEC must have applications to see the big picture and the overall solution, not just one part of it. Designers or architects will not be like before, today will be as programmers who accompany their routine design complementing it with innovative new techniques that Autodesk provides.

BIM is a process, not a technology. It supports 3D hardware and software. The process, as such, helps communicate design intent, to have better predictability reduces errors and costs in the project, more and more countries are designing rules under BIM, its regulations will require to stick as communication standard and sought nobody's left out we do not see any barrier or complications of establishing BIM. Autodesk BIM have the understanding, we provide the tools and offer a solution to be creative and competitive in this field. "

What challenges are trending for Autodesk technologies?

"The information in the Internet of Things is not well organized. It is still necessary to sort, connect computers, sensors and phones at some point as requested by the internet of things. With the cloud, today we have information, servers and software that could not be easily accessed for rapid iteration. Now with the cloud, you can collaborate with people in the world where you could not do before.

For example, a new way of working will be with generative design, where you do not begin to design something from scratch. You give the computer parameters, constraints and the goals you want to achieve; then the computer executes these routines and presents several examples forms, and these can even be human cells. Our Dreamcatcher software and the Autodesk Within platform are testimonies of what we are doing. The algorithms behind generative design are based on evolutionary processes of nature and life.


imagen cortesía de UnderArmour

 Photo courtesy of Under Armour

A generative Under Armour product design new cross trainer made with Autodesk Within technology.

With the Dutch company MX3D, Autodesk is helping provide insight and software to create a bridge structure that crosses a canal. Part of the bridge was designed as a proposal from the computer using generative design supported by Dreamcatcher, the bridge will be manufactured by non-human robots, then our role is to tell the robot what to do with a view to cross the channel giving some parameters, resulting is a design made by the computer with an appearance that humans could not conceive of, and built with 3D printed metal parts. Machine learning unfolds a subject a little more advanced than artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence is helping to make the computer possess the same capacity as humans have. Machine Learning is when we teach the computer to learn themselves. Once we add things to the Internet, the computers will all be able to learn from the various connected sources.


imagen cortesía de MX3D

Photo courtesy of MX3D

imagen cortesía de MX3D

Photo courtesy of MX3D

In July 2016 Autodesk will launch a new program called Design Graph, which is embedded in Autodesk A360 as part of the machine learning initiative. Autodesk has compiled 5M different 3D models in a portfolio that allows you to design what you need. But instead of creating the component from scratch, you can access a pre-made configuration, and the computer will also make suggestions of which ones to use. The process aims to extract 3D information rich content, categorize and relate it to create a living catalog. This will be the world's largest store of digital assets stored in the cloud for use with additional iterations from where the computer can learn. "

imagen cortesía de MX3D

Photo courtesy of MX3D

Tell us about your initiatives in additive manufacturing

"We are very active in 3D printing because of our focus on the future of making things.  We have our Spark and Ember program as the base platform initiative for additive manufacturing. We decided to make this program, as our software library for connecting different devices was valuable learning for us also. one example to share, is that once you design something in generative design, you can then can print it. Imagine also designing a 3d generated molecule or cell structure by computer, and then printing it. We collaborate with companies’ 3D printers in our own prototype laboratory in California. This combination of our software and the various 3D printers is where we get to prove that our software works with all available equipment. A sample project generative design and additive manufacturing is the Autodesk made with Airbus.


imagen cortesía de Airbus

Photo courtesy of Airbus

Design processes, manufacturing processes as well as the way things are made is changing. The combination of generative design, machine learning, additive manufacturing and robots are some of the most innovative technology and trends. Each technology is important, but combing them and mixing them is even greater value. I refer to them as recombinant innovation.

We are also entering the era of intelligent cities with seismic changes in the way things are designed and built. If the internet of things seeks to organize things, it is necessary that we start now, including organization of ideas and creations. Industry reports estimate that there will be 8 billion people in the world in 10 years, 300 million wearable type devices tracking what we do, linked to 100 billion connected devices and 1 trillion sensors that will control different products that will make our life easier. Additive manufacturing is part of this new era, where people at some point will be able to print any type of clothing or wearable devices. In this context, and with the sensors providing feedback, we will have a better idea of the consequences and impact of design.

We should not be afraid of technology. Innovation is the driving force, results in growth of the economy and offers new possibilities.

Particularly in Mexico we see incredible potential for the economy, with your youth using our applications is pushing every day. Mexico, as a country has more users and imports more robots than most countries, and a large portion of its population lives in urban areas. It is important for us to talk, as sites like 3DCadportal are the best way to deliver this message and explain the technology trends for a better understanding. "

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