Tag Archives: Autodesk

Robotic 3D printers will construct a steel bridge over Amsterdam waterways

A group of designers will use an anti-gravity machine to 3D print a functional, life-size bridge in Amsterdam. 

Apparently the Netherlands has become the hotbed for revolutionary architecture, particularly through the use of 3D printing. After following the completion of what may very well have been the worlds’ first full-sized, 3D-printed home, designers are now taking on another ambitious plan which will employ the combination of robotics and 3D printers. While Amsterdam has more than 1,200 bridges crossing the city’s waterways, one of those will soon be a bit different from the rest: the steel overpass will be constructed with a set of multi-axis printers that can draw structures in mid-air.


The machine, which is the brainchild of Dutch startup MX3D, will build the bridge over the one of the city’s main waterways, printing its own supports along the way. The anti-gravity apparatus will extrude in steel with special arms capable of heating up the metal to 2,732° F before welding the structure, resulting in a strong and durable pedestrian bridge.

Designed by Joris Laarman, the undertaking is a collaboration between MX3D, Autodesk, ABB Robotics, European construction company Heijmans and several others.


“I strongly believe in the future of digital production and local production, in ‘the new craft.’ This bridge will show how 3D printing finally enters the world of large-scale, functional objects and sustainable materials while allowing unprecedented freedom of form. The symbolism of the bridge is a beautiful metaphor to connect the technology of the future with the old city, in a way that brings out the best of both worlds,” Laarman writes.

The team has already tested the robotic printer by creating a complex metal sculpture of intersecting lines. That success inspired them to continue on with the project, which will include two robots working in unison — one starting on each side of the canal, both making their way towards the center.


Several designs of the bridge have been revealed, all of which involve a cantilevered arch. The final design, however, has yet to be unveiled. Both that, along with the exact location of the bridge, will be announced soon with completion slated for 2017.

Mattel and Autodesk will let kids design and 3D print their own toys

Want a new toy? You may soon be able to 3D print it — without heading off to the nearest Toys”R”Us.

Let’s face it, as a kid there were always those toys that you wished you could design yourself. For some, that may’ve been a Hot Wheels car. For others, a Barbie doll. In any case, today’s generation may finally get that opportunity. That’s because toy makers are leveraging the powers of the Maker Movement to give children the keys to the door of endless imagination. Mattel and Autodesk have announced a partnership that will enable kids to customize their own 3D-printed playthings through a dedicated online hub starting in the second half of this year.


The joint initiative will provide a new immersive experience by combining the physical toys of today with the digital adventures of tomorrow. An upcoming series of apps will empower consumers — both young and old — to imagine, design and build their own toys, while 3D printing will bring them to life.

“Autodesk is dedicated to providing powerful, yet easy-to-use 3D design and 3D printing apps to unlock the creativity in everyone,” explained Samir Hanna, VP and GM, Consumer and 3D Printing at Autodesk. “Partnering with an iconic brand like Mattel provides us with an opportunity to demonstrate how Spark, our open 3D printing platform, can help create amazing experiences that bridge the digital and physical worlds and push the boundaries of creative play.”

Tapping directly into the burgeoning DIY trend, this exclusive collaboration aspires to bring hands-on design experiences to support an interactive learning environment through fun apps so that kids (and grown-ups who are still kids at heart) can also learn while they play.

“We’re constantly inspired by the passion and creativity we see among kids around the world,” said Doug Wadleigh, SVP and GM Toy Box, Mattel. “Technology is changing daily and by harnessing Mattel’s expertise in play and Autodesk’s expertise with creative apps and 3D printing, we’re able to offer a new kind of 3D design experience, continuing the Mattel legacy of inspiring imagination and creativity.”

While there is no indication as to which toy lines Mattel is targeting to get a 3D printing makeover, this is certainly just the tip of the iceberg and the start of a revolutionary trend. Just the other day, Disney Research unveiled a fabric 3D printer that was capable of creating plush, embeddable toys.

Voxel8 is making 3D-printed electronics a reality

This 3D printer is blending plastics and electronics in the same printed object.

Traditionally, electronic circuit boards are manufactured in standard shapes. However, Voxel8 has unveiled a new 3D printing platform that brings together functional materials, hardware and software to give designers a once inconceivable way to integrate electronics into their projects.


While previous electronics printing efforts have involved either retrofitting existing machines or spitting out PCBs using inkjet printers, the Massachusetts-based company believes it has developed the world’s first 3D electronics printer. As seen at CES 2015, the Voxel8 is enabling users to blend plastic, conductive ink and electronic components all into the same object. Makers can now create built-in electronic circuitry right into their DIY designs, ranging from quadcopter drones to phones to USB sticks.

The innovative printer, which was founded by Dr. Jennifer A. Lewis in partnership with Autodesk, boasts interchangeable cartridges that can print out objects in both PLA plastic and conductive silver ink. The team reveals that this ink is five thousand times more conductive than other pastes and filaments currently used in 3D printing, and indeed, carries higher currents capable of supplying power to small electric motors and actuators.


The ink is specifically designed so that it can be deposited by a 250 micron nozzle, dried in just five minutes at room temperature and used to reliably interconnect TQFP integrated circuits. In fact, it will enable users to easily wire together chips and other electronic components within their 3D-printed objects, making way for a degree of design freedom that is simply not possible through standard manufacturing methods.

Embodying a C-shaped design, Voxel8 offers users optimal transparency into the device as their parts are being constructed. On the hardware side, the gadget is driven by a RAMBo 1.3 (ATmega2560/ATmega32U2). In addition, it is equipped with a 4.3-inch touchscreen, USB and Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as a highly-repeatable kinematically coupled bed that uses magnets to ensure precision as a Maker manually inserts the components of interest, then continues printing the part right where it left off.


The printer has a layer resolution of 200 microns, and can even create objects up to 4” x 6″ x 4” in size. Thanks to Autodesk’s Project Wire software, the printing process can also be paused to let users manually insert components that will be embedded in the project.

Since its debut back in January, the company has generated quite a bit of buzz in the news. Most recently, Voxel8 announced that it had closed a strategic investment and technology development agreement with In-Q-Tel (IQT), the investment firm that identifies innovative technology solutions to support the missions of the U.S. CIA.


Interested in printing your own novel 3D electronic devices? The machines are expected to begin shipping late 2015. In the meantime, head on over to Voxel8’s official page to learn more.

8 trends shaping the future of making

Our friends at Autodesk explore the significant design and technology trends for 2015. 

Mass personalization will march toward the mainstream

Normal allows its customers to take a few pictures of their ears and uses that to create personalized 3D-printed headphones that fit perfectly in your ear. Normal CEO Nikki Kaufman describes it best as “Personalized, customized products built for you and your body.” In the last few years, we’ve seen companies that offer customers the ability to customize their products, by allowing customers to select from pre-defined options. Diego Tamburini, Manufacturing Industry Strategist at Autodesk predicts that customers will demand products that are uniquely tailored to their needs, tastes and bodies.

(Source: Normal)

(Source: Normal)

Big data will inform our urban landscapes

The design and construction of buildings, infrastructure and the cities they reside in are far too complex to rely on the wooden scale models of old. Architects, engineers and city planners are able to do things that were not possible in the past. As Phil Bernstein, V.P. Strategic Industry Relations at Autodesk put it, “Scale models, however beautifully made, are hardly up to the job of understanding how a building operates in the context of a city.

Thanks to advances in laser scanning, sensors and cloud-based software, cities are now being digitized into 3D models that can be viewed from every angle, changed and analyzed at a moment’s notice.

Cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Singapore, Tokyo and Boston are working to digitize not just the shapes and locations of the buildings but create a data-rich, living model of the city itself — complete with simulated pedestrian traffic, energy use, carbon footprint, water distribution, transportation, even the movement of infectious diseases.

(Source: Autodesk)

(Source: Autodesk)

Our relationship with robots will be redefined

In the future, humans and robots will collaborate and learn from each other. Today, robots are receiving data and use machine learning techniques to make sense of the world and provide actionable analytics for themselves and humans. Nevertheless, robots are not artists and they will need inspiration and guidance from us for the foreseeable future. In the words of Autodesk Technology Futurist Jordan Brandt, “A robot is no more a craftsman than an algorithm is a designer.”

(Source: Autodesk Gallery France Pop-Up)

(Source: Autodesk Gallery France Pop-Up)

Designs will “grow”

When Lightning Motorcycles wanted to develop a next generation swing arm for their electric motorcycle, they adopted a new Autodesk approach for the project: A computer-aided (CAD) system called Project Dreamcatcher that automatically generates tens, hundreds, or even thousands of designs that all meet your specific design criteria.

Software like Autodesk’s Project Dreamcatcher is ushering a new era of design best described by Autodesk CTO Jeff Kowalski, “We’ll start to see more intensely complex forms, that could appear very organic, or very mathematic.”

(Source: Lightning Motorcycles)

(Source: Lightning Motorcycles)

Manufacturing in space

Made In Space is focused on one thing: making and manufacturing in space. With over 30,000+ hours of 3D printing technology testing, Made In Space has led to the first 3D printers designed and built for use on the International Space Station. As Made in Space CTO Jason Dunn explains, “2015 will be the year of space manufacturing. No longer do engineers need to design around the burdens of launch — instead, in 2015 we will begin designing space systems that are actually built in the space environment. This opens an entirely new book on space system design, a book where complex 3D printed structures that could only exist in zero-gravity become possible.”

(Source: Made in Space)

(Source: Made in Space)

Live materials will be integrated into our buildings

Today, buildings are dead, but new materials and technology are enabling living structures. For example, David Benjamin, founding principal of the design and research studio The Living, is collaborating with plant biologists at the University of Cambridge in England to grow new composite materials from bacteria, a process that uses renewable sugars as a raw material rather than non-renewable petroleum used for plastics. In 2014, The Living delivered Hy-Fi, a “living” installation for the Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1’s Young Architects Program competition. The temporary installation involved a 40-foot-tall tower with 10,000 bricks grown entirely from compostable materials — corn stalks and mushrooms — and developed in collaboration with innovative materials company Ecovative. That building was disassembled at the end of the summer and all of the bricks have been composted, returning to grade A soil.

(Source: The Living)

(Source: The Living)

Virtual and augmented reality will be integrated into everyday apps

New virtual devices like the Oculus Rift and augmented reality applications will require an innovative generation of spatial designers. According to Autodesk Technology Futurist Jordan Brandt, current touchscreen interaction will give way to ‘Immersion Design’ that leverages the spatial dimensions offered through emerging augmented and virtual reality platforms.

There’s a bright future for architecture students, game designers and multi-dimensional talent to join app development teams.

(Source: Autodesk and Neoscape)

(Source: Autodesk and Neoscape)

The amount of 3D data will rapidly increase

“With the ability to create 3D models on mobile devices through apps like 123D Catch or the Structure sensor, virtually anyone can begin to capture the spatial world around them. Coupled with the broader adoption of WebGL technology and 3D printing, we can expect an explosion in the amount of 3D data available in 2015. Responding to user demand, social platforms will enable direct sharing of 3D data and start to provide immersive, collaborative experiences.” — Autodesk Technology Futurist, Jordan Brandt

(Source: 123D Catch)

(Source: 123D Catch)

This article written by the Autodesk team originally appeared on Medium.


Atmel is ready to rock @ SXSW!

Atmel’s Tech on Tour trailer is on the road again and heading to Austin, Texas for SXSW. We’ll be at the Hyatt Regency Austin from March 7-9, 2014, so be sure to stop by during the show to see our latest demos.

We’ll be showcasing a wide variety of tech across a number of spaces, including touch, security, microcontrollers (MCUs), wireless, lighting and automotive.

More specifically, you can check out:

In addition, we’re proud to host a guest appearance by Autodesk, the very same folks behind the world famous Instructables and 123D Circuits.

With 123D Circuits, you can breadboard and simulate your AVR-powered Arduino-based circuits, while writing, compiling and running code right in your browser. When you’re done, you can have the circuit board professionally made and shipped right to your doorstep.

Interested in learning more about Atmel’s tech on tour? You can check out our official ToT page here.

Arduino goes virtual with Autodesk

Autodesk and Circuits.io have launched a new tool that allows DIY Makers to more easily design and test projects powered by Atmel-based Arduino boards.

Aptly dubbed 123D Circuits, the utility boasts a virtual breadboard-based design which enables Makers to build and experiment with Arduino circuits just as they would in real life. Code can be edited in a browser, facilitating real-time and interactive simulation of the targeted circuit. Plus, Makers are now able to simultaneously work on the same (virtual) project with their friends, compiling and emulating  Arduino code inside a live, editable circuit.

Additional key features and capabilities include:

  • A powerful, yet easy-to-use component editor which makes it easy to add new components to the shared library.
  • Facilitates the creation of slick circuit boards with free text, b-splice silkscreen art and arbitrary board shapes.
  • Capable of embedding designs, including simulations, on a blog or in an Instructable.

Interested in learning more? You can check out the official Sandbox page here.

Silicon Valley Maker Faire 2013 wrap up

After telling you about all the cool things at Maker Faire that were powered by Atmel chips, I thought I would balance things out showing some Maker things that don’t have chips at all.


A Steampunk styled land-based submarine at the 2013 Maker Faire.

It does not take long hanging around Maker to see that there is this whole Steampunk esthetic. In fact I would describe Maker as a science fair crossed with Burning Man. Out in the parking lot, there were big motorized cupcakes, just big enough to hold a driver, that were scooting around to the delight of the kids. Also a huge Rube Goldberg style installation where a bowling ball rolled through all kinds of obstructions to trigger a huge weight that would fall on a car, crushing it a little further towards flat each demonstration. There was a stylized dragon that sped around, avoiding the cupcakes, and propane spewing art sculpture the size of a tree. There were also Maker projects and food booths outside. The outside part of Maker Faire is why you should bring a hat and some sunscreen.

Speaking of kids, one of the greatest things about Maker is that it is a family-friendly event.


A cadre of young Makers gets intoxicated on LEGO® blocks.

There is a Bay Area LEGO Users’ Group for the adults doing giant projects.


Some budding Makers getting ready to craft a stuffed octopus that doubles as a glove, a Glovetopus.


Here a whole gaggle of Maker Fair attendees has a blast expressing their artistic side.

I think one thing fundamentally different about Maker compared to a science fair is that Maker promotes and encourages the artistic side of technologists.


This locomotive not only looks good, it also burns real coal.


The amazing thing about this model locomotive is that is hand-built, not made from a kit.

There seems to be a linkage between the Maker community and model train enthusiasts. There was a great outdoor display at Maker, with some fantastic model trains.


Maker Faire had a whole hall dedicated to robot wars.


There was some intense work going on the pit next to the robot war pen.

Robot wars. There are a lot of fun things at Maker, but sparring robots has to top my list. Designing  complex electro-mechanical systems is great instruction for these young technologists. They are the innovators and competitors that will keep America’s and the world’s economy humming along.


“Dave X” shows off a home-made firework that you can build. No, that is not real powder in the thing.

Explosives. What could be more fun? The Western Pyrotechnic Association had a booth at Maker Faire 2013. They can make sure you are following all state and federal laws as you make home-made fireworks. For that giant unit in the picture, you have to drive out of California to set it off. The trip to Nevada or Arizona just adds to the anticipation. The Association organizes events where everyone gets together to try out their handiwork. I guess you can think of them as single-use model rockets. Too late for the 2013 Winter Blast, but there is always 2014 to look forward to.


The Drone Dudes came up from Hollywood to Maker 2013.

Drone Dudes had an awesome octo-copter at the Faire. They hang an HD camera on the bottom of the drone and do filming for the movie industry. Now there may be Atmel chips inside it, I just forgot to ask I was so blown away by the hardware. Over the next few years you will start to see directors and cinematographers take advantage of this new technology, like when they saw how Google Earth zooms can make a great establishing shot, or how Bullet cams for the Matrix movie can do slow motion with perspective changes. I don’t think this gorgeous South Dakota night sky video uses bullet cams—but it is interesting to speculate how he did the dolly shots while time-lapsing. I suspect a really smooth robotic setup.


The Epilog laser can cut and engrave objects as well as cut them out of thin stock.

The Epilog Laser people were at the Maker Shed. The unit they showed won’t cut a razor blade yet, but that is some crazy power you probably would not want in your garage anyway.


The G&M Honey folks had a nice display at Maker.

G&M Honey is all about local production of food. So they can set you up to keep honey bees, and I think they can even sell the honey to local restaurants. They will even come get that bee hive out of the trunk of your car or the wall in your house.


This camera booth can feed images to Autodesk’s 123D photo-to-3D model software.

Autodesk had this camera booth that provides images to their 123D 3-D model creation software. My ME pal Dave Ruigh tried the software a few months ago and could not get good results. He said it would be easier to just build the thing in Solidworks. I suspect he did not feed the software the kind of images it needed. This booth would be the perfect test bed to see how well the software performs. Next time I will bring a Sportster engine case and see how it does with that.


Here were some weird 3D shapes at Maker Faire 2013.

I don’t know if this strange shape was made from a model or is just some type of Styrofoam bubbles. The wooden models are interesting too. I did not have time to get the story; it was a drive-by snap, so there you have it.


Jeri Ellsworth was at the Faire with her new company Technical Illusions.

Occasional eFlea attendee Jeri Ellsworth was at the Maker Faire this year with a demo of her new company Technical Illusions. They project a 3-D game image out of a headset, but get this– the headset also has a camera so the 3-D is projected properly on to tables, walls and other surfaces. Too cool, no wonder Jeri has not been down to the eFlea breakfast for a while.

Maker Faire is really getting some traction all over the world. It looks like people have a real hunger to get their hands on technology and warp and weave it into whatever strikes their fancy. If you have never been to a Maker Faire, you should give it a try. The 120,000 people who came to San Mateo all had a great time. There is another big Faire in New York Sept 21&22, as well as franchised Faires in Detroit July 27&28 and Kansas City June 29&30. There is even a Faire coming to Rome Oct 3-6.

Atmel is everywhere at the 2013 Maker Faire, episode 1

As I walked around the 2013 Maker Faire in San Mateo, it seemed that everything that interested me had Atmel chips inside of it. Even before I got inside a pavilion Saturday, there was a full-sized flight simulator as I walked in the gate.


The Viper Flight simulator is a kickstarter project that actually got built. Created by a team of high-school students, the Viper was at Maker Faire with its mentor’s family, the DeRoses.


Dad Tony DeRose told me “we use Atmel all over” the project.


Something tells me the real brains of the outfit is mom Cindy DeRose, here standing next to some of the simulator’s controls.


And every engineer can commiserate with having to crawl under the control panel to work on the electronics. We can see dad Tony handing a circuit board to ——


……his son Sam, who he described as the EE and ME of the project. Tony is no slouch himself, working over at Pixar as senior scientist and lead of research.

Frankly, it’s great to see something that actually gets finished on Kickstarter. We need another website called Kickfinisher, where Cindy comes over to your lab and tells you to stop playing video games and screwing off so you can get some work done. If you are a good boy she might bring some cookies and orange juice. In addition to a passionate core of mentors, it helps to have some sponsors, and Viper got support from Autodesk, Nvidia, and automotive repair shop Hawker Inc.