Supercharge your makerspace with IoT power

Making is rewarding and can be challenging at the same time. If the challenge gets to be too much, the reward may not happen. To overcome this, we can create smart makerspaces with devices connected via the IoT. In this project from the User Interface group, the smart makerspace is built around an interactive workbench that guides users through their tasks.

The workbench is an 84", 4K digital whiteboard covered with a 3mm sheet of acrylic to protect the screen from tools and project pieces. Above the workbench, a depth sensing camera is mounted to track the position and placement of objects. In addition to tracking parts and being the workspace, the workbench has instructions in the form of digital documentation and videos to guide the user through the tasks and provide additional background information.

Beside the workbench is a collection of small tools and project parts. Unlike a typical storage cabinet, this is connected to the workbench by USB Phidgets and it makes it easy for the user to find the required part. Need a CLL020 LED for your next step of the project? The appropriate storage compartment will light up making it easy to find. Who wouldn't want this at their local hardware store? 

Tools in the smart makerspace have been augmented to be smart and connected. For example, the soldering iron has a precision light sensor placed over its power light so the system knows its state: off, heating or ready. A proximity sensor is attached to the holster so that the system knows whether the iron is present or has been removed.


Smart safety glasses were created that include conductive tape over the nose to determine if the maker is actually wearing them. Imagine a world where dangerous tools won't work until the user is following all the appropriate safety precautions!


This research opens up a lot of possibilities for efficient and safe workplaces. Combine it with robots like in the HIVE and anything is possible! You can read more about the smart makerspace in the publication and see it in action in the video below.

Bring your photos to life with updates to Project Draco

We have an exciting new update to Project Draco available for feedback on Autodesk Labs - you can now import pictures to layers to have fun with photos of your friends and family!

The latest technology preview adds some important features for working with photos and detailed illustrations:

  • The biggest improvement is that you can now import images to layers

  • With this comes an eraser tool for tweaking the layers

  • For exporting your movies you now have control over the resolution and duration

You can turn this...

...into this!

Let's take a look at how we can do this with some falling leaves. First prepare some leaves.

Import them into a new layer.

Press the Animate! button.

Animate the leaves.

To get something like this.

There's still time to sign-up for Project Draco - all you need is an iPad to try it out. You can see more of the artwork created with Project Draco on Tumblr.

Typing on Smart Glasses

A while back we talked about how we were able to help people type up to 30 wpm on their smart watch. Now we've updated the research to apply to an even smaller typing surface on the side of a pair of smart glasses.

Autodesk Research Smart Glasses

The challenge in adapting this from a smart watch is twofold:

  1. You can't see the surface you're typing on - most smart glasses use voice commands
  2. The surface you're typing on is long and narrow - the diagonal swipes used on a smart watch don't work as well

Adapting the SwipeBoard technology to the smart glasses with a heads up display gets around the first problem. The second problem is addressed by dividing the long strip into three, using a piece of tape for tactile feedback on the zones and eliminating the diagonal gestures with vertical gestures in each zone.

Autodesk Research Smart Glasses SwipeGlass

This is the first known work in this area and there are lots of possibilities for future study. Have a look at the video below for more details. 


Easy animation Project Draco is open for feedback on iPad

We've talked about Project Draco a bunch, including showing it at SIGGRAPH and how it could be used for storyboarding. Now we are happy to announce that we now have a technical preview available for iPad users. If you're interested, please sign up to the Autodesk Labs project

If you haven't seen Project Draco before or need some inspiration, take a look at some of the creations below! In a nutshell, Draco allows artists to easily add animation to their illustrations and photos with an easy-to-use, sketch-based paradigm.





Humans and Robots Collaborating at Autodesk University

Visitors to Autodesk University 2015 are invited to work with a robot through wearables and internet of things technologies to help build a 12' high architectural pavilion using bamboo.

Autodesk Research HiveThe hive will be created from 224 tensegrity units. Each tensegrity unity is composed of three bamboo rods held together with string that is wound by robotic arms. The magical part is that the bamboo rods are not touching each other. Each tensegrity unit is unique due to the bamboo rods having differences in length and diameter. They are connected together with special LED units that help the builders place the pieces and will create a light show. 

Autodesk Research Hive Bamboo Tensegrity Unit

The hive is coordinated and tracked by a system called the foreman engine. In it one can see the project status and contributions by all workers. 

Autodesk Research Hive Foreman System

You can see the full details in the movie below and follow the AU Hive on twitter




Research at Autodesk University 2015

For those attending Autodesk University this year in Las Vegas, Autodesk Research will have a booth in the “Central Park” section of the Exhibit Hall where we’ll be showcasing a number of exciting projects.  

Autodesk University 2015

The projects represented at this year’s conference will include:

Autodesk Research Autodesk University 2015


The Bio/Nano Research group will be showing the current status of their research on how to fold DNA to create functional nanostructures as well as how to grow artificial bones.


Autodesk Research Autodesk University 2015


Project Dreamcatcher will be exhibiting a number of generatively designed artifacts, such as the Optima Bow made by Pier 9 Artist-in-Residence John Briscella of Aminimal Studio, bicycles and motorcycle swingarms.

Autodesk Research Autodesk University 2015



The Design and Fabricaction group will be showing Meshmixer and how it is used to 3D print functional parts and body-fitting prosthetics. 

Autodesk Research Autodesk University 2015


Autodesk Within Medical, which allows implant designers to create porous coatings to aid bone and implant fusion (ie. osseointergration), will be displaying a number of their 3D printed medical components and explaining how their technology works. 



AU 2015 Map to Autodesk Researc
When you enter Sands Hall B & C, just walk to the Central Park and Autodesk Research will be on the right!

In addition to the booth, look for the Hive Project near the Exhibit Hall where Autodesk University attendees will build an architectural scale pavilion guided by human/robot interaction.

Autodesk Research Autodesk University 2015

A number of team members will be giving talks at AU:


Composite Materials and Manufacturing Processes for Automotive Applications

Tuesday, Dec 1, 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM, Location: Zeno 4701, Level 4

Massimiliano Moruzzi discusses composite applications in the automotive marketplace.


Automated Composite Manufacturing

Tuesday, Dec 1, 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM, Location: Marcello 4401a, Level 4

Massimiliano Moruzzi presents an end-to-end solution for the automated composite manufacturing process. This class will cover advanced lay-up design strategies such as fiber placement, tape layering, and robotics lay-up which are utilized when programming automatic material layup equipment. High composite production rates will be covered through automated robotic material nesting and taping.


Cultivating Innovation and Developing Intrapreneurs

Wednesday, Dec 2, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM, Location: Zeno 4704, Level 4

Cory Mogk will be doing a talk on Cultivating Innovation and Developing Intrapreneurs that uses the tools from the Innovation Workshop. This class will talk about how Autodesk is helping intrapreneurs develop their ideas and we’ll provide tools and guidance that attendees can use on their own or in their organizations. 


Composite Manufacturing Solution for Optimum Material Nesting and Ply Layup

Thursday, Dec 3, 2:45 PM - 4:00 PM, Location: San Polo 3405, Level 3

Massimiliano Moruzzi will lead this two-part class where attendees will utilize Autodesk TruNest Composites to show the complete process from import to nesting to NC part cutting of ply materials. Special focus will be given to optimal nesting for efficient material usage. During the second half, we will utilize Autodesk TruLaser to perform laser projection for showing composite ply lay-up.


Once again, the Design Research team will be conducting user research sessions. This year’s focus will be on collecting feedback for Within and Dreamcatcher.  Look for the OCTO Airstream in the AU registration area.

  Autodesk Research Astronaut

We hope you’ll make some time to come by and meet some of the team. 



Cool Things from Autodesk Research at UIST 2015

Autodesk Research will be presenting five papers at the 28th ACM UIST User Interface Software and Technology Symposium in Charlotte, NC, from November 8-11. UIST is the premier forum for innovations in human-computer interfaces. UIST brings together researchers and practitioners from diverse areas including graphical & web user interfaces, tangible & ubiquitous computing, virtual & augmented reality, multimedia, new input & output devices, fabrication, wearable computing and CSCW.

UIST 2015

This year there has been an explosion in research related to the areas of digital fabrication and fabricating electronics. You may browse the full program and see Autodesk's contributions below.

NanoStylus: Enhancing Input on Ultra-Small Displays


Candid Interaction: Revealing Hidden Mobile and Wearable Computing


MoveableMaker: Facilitating the Design, Generation, and Assembly of Moveable Papercraft


Smart Makerspace: An Immersive Instructional Space for Physical Tasks

Autodesk has contributed more to UIST 2015 than just papers. We're a platinum sponsor, Tovi Grossman has been serving as the Program Committee Co-Chair and Justin Matejka has been serving as the Video Previews Co-Chair.

Here's a preview of the rest of the show.



Autodesk Research at SIGGRAPH 2015

If you're attending SIGGRAPH 2015 in Los Angeles, watch out for these presentations from members of Autodesk Research and say hi to the presenters!:

Kitty: Sketching Dynamic and Interactive Illustrations

Monday, 10 August 3:45 pm - 5:15 pm, Los Angeles Convention Center, Room 402AB

Rubaiat Habib, Fanny Chevalier, Tovi Grossman and George Fitzmaurice

Kitty will be part of the UIST Reprise and you can read more about Kitty in this blog post.

Printing Elastics

Thursday, 13 August 10:45 AM - 12:15 PM, Los Angeles Convention Center, Room 150/151

Session Chair: Nobuyuki Umetani

Convolutional Wasserstein Distances: Efficient Optimal Transportation on Geometric Domains

Tuesday, 11 August 10:45 AM - 12:15 PM, Los Angeles Convention Center, Room 152

Justin Solomon, Fernando de Goes, Gabriel Peyré, Marco Cuturi, Adrian Butscher, Andy Nguyen, Tao Du, Leonidas Guibas

This paper introduces a new class of algorithms for optimization problems involving optimal transportation over geometric domains. The main contribution is to show that optimal transportation can be made tractable over large graphics domains, such as images and triangle meshes, improving performance by orders of magnitude compared to previous work.

OmniAD: Data-Driven Omni-Directional Aerodynamics

Wednesday, 12 August 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM, Los Angeles Convention Center, Room 153A-C

Tobias Martin, Nobuyuki Umetani, Bernd Bickel

Introducing OmniAD, a novel data-driven pipeline to model and acquire the aerodynamics of three-dimensional rigid objects simply by capturing their falling motion using a single camera. OmniAD enables realistic real-time simulation of rigid bodies and interactively designed three-dimensional kites that actually fly.

Computational Tools for 3D Printing

Thursday, 13 August 2:00 pm - 5:15 pm, Los Angeles Convention Center, Room 403AB

Nobuyuki Umetani, Bernd Bickel, Wojciech Matusik

This course reviews current 3D printing hardware and software pipelines, and analyzes their potential and shortcomings. Then it focuses on computational specification for fabrication methods, which allow designing or computing an object's shape and material composition from a functional description.

3D-Printed Prosthetics for the Developing World

Thursday, 13 August, 9-10:30 am,SIGGRAPH Studio

Ryan Schmidt, Ginger Coons, Vincent Chen, Timotheus Gmeiner, Matt Ratto

You can read more about this project here.

Autodesk Exhibitor Sessions

Members of your favourite Autodesk product teams will be showing off cool, new things throughout the week.

The Art of Fluid Animation

And you may see Jos Stam wearing a shirt like this - ask him about it :)

Autodesk Research The Art of Fluid Animation