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Thursday, 3 December 2009

Autodesk University Day Two

Day Two of Autodesk University 2009 started a little more civilised than yesterdays early kick-off, I even managed to sleep through until 6.30am which pleased me. Although I realised that now I’m acclimatised to being in a different time zone, I’m going home tomorrow and will have the same problem all over again. Never mind, at least we managed to get to the Mandalay Convention Center for a nice cup of tea before the first class this morning.

The first class for today was a sneak peak of the future of Autodesk Data Management and unfortunately like yesterdays sneak peak at Autodesk Inventor I can’t tell you very much. What I will say though is that there is some awesome new data management technology in planning that may one day make it into the product.

After spending a bit of time catching up on emails and phone calls it was time for the Manufacturing keynote presentation. Senior VP Robert ‘Buzz’ Kross began proceedings with case studies of how manufacturing companies are currently using Autodesk technology to produce Digital Prototypes of their products using tools like Inventor, Alias, Algor and Moldflow. Buzz also awarded the first Autodesk Community Award to long time Inventor user Charles Bliss in recognition of the work he has done to promote Inventor and help make it a better product. Congratulations Charles.

Buzz then introduced the sessions guest speaker, Dr Peter H. Diamandis who is the founder of the X Prize Foundation and initiated the $10million race to design and build the world’s first re-usable manned space flight. Dr Diamandis gave a superb overview of his passion (space travel) and the initiatives that the X Prize Foundation is now developing to challenge design engineers worldwide to solve problems in education, the environment, science and space travel.
To finish the Manufacturing keynote session, Autodesk Senior Director Amy Bunzel gave some snippets of what the Autodesk developers have been developing over the past months and where current technology could possibly go. There were some really cool new technologies that hopefully we will see added into the portfolio in the not too distant future.

Buzz closed off the session with a Happy Birthday message for Autodesk Inventor as it is 10 years since R1 shipped. It seems just 5 minutes ago but how the product has developed since those early days.

The next session was something that’s reasonably new to me; it was all about the Autodesk Moldflow technology and how it can be utilised in multi-shot and in-mold assembly processes. I’ve got to admit that this was some very clever stuff. The way you can use the tools to take your 3D models from Inventor and then analyse the flow of material within the mold to simulate the multi-shot processes is superb!

The final event for today was the Cut & Paste Design Slam – take three design professionals, put them on a stage in front of a workstation with their software of choice and give them 20 minutes to design and model their take on a particular design challenge. Not too bad I hear you cry, however, the pressure is on as everything they do can be seen on three giant screens behind them by the crowd watching. Add into the mix a DJ keeping the tempo high and adding the music for the night and you’ve got a designers nightclub!

Finally, I just want to tell you about one of the coolest things I have seen whilst here at AU2009 – it’s a fully functioning 10ft turbo prop engine that was designed and developed using Autodesk Inventor and then printed using a 3D printer! Just take a look at the video below of the turbo prop in action, yes believe me, that is a 3D print!