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. 


Using Generative Design for Art Projects

John Briscella from Aminimal Studio was part of the Artist in Residence program at Autodesk's Pier 9 in San Francisco. During his residency he worked with the Dreamcatcher team to apply generative design to the creation of an olympic recurve bow.

Autodesk Research Dreamcatcher Bow

John asked some interesting questions in exploring this project:

Can design be automated? What does that mean for the role of designer?

And then he found an answers to his question in the designer letting go and letting the software do what it does best. Going on to say:

It's going to be an amazing dialog between humans and machines - figuring out the best possible solution for a design


John started of with sketching his project and and goals for the design.

 Autodesk Research Dreamcatcher Bow

He scanned his arm and hand with reality capture to define one of the goals so that there would be a custom fit. Other parts defined below include a space for the arrow and the upper and lower limbs and the bolt holes to mount them.

Autodesk Research Dreamcatcher Bow


With this set, Dreamcatcher can begin the simulation. At each step, the bow is tested for strength.

Final the digital part is sent to the CNC milling machine. John says:

This is like watching the evolution of bone structures or plant structures

 CNC 3D milling of the Optimal Bow Tekina in Aluminum

The completed part gets removed from the machine. 

Autodesk Dreamcatcher Bow

You can learn more about how John did this on Instructables and through the video below.



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. 



Autodesk Toronto is Moving to MaRS

Last week we announced that Autodesk's Toronto office will be moving to the MaRS Discovery District next fall! MaRS is one of the largest innovation hubs in the world with residents engaged in things like Health Care, Cleantech, Social Impact and ICT (Information and Communications Technology). 

Autodesk MaRS Toronto
Autodesk Toronto will have a ground floor presence along with the second and third floors above

This is a great combination of industries as Autodesk Toronto has teams covering all of these areas, including Maya for film and games, Alias for product and automotive design, digital art and fabrication.

From a research perspective, this puts us closer to the local universities as well as hospital research groups. It's also right across the street from the Ontario legislature which sees lots of important visitors from Canada and around the world.

Autodesk's new home at MaRS
MaRS is at the centre of one of the world's largest innovation communities

The Living, creators of the Hy-Fi installation at New York's MoMA and designers on Bjork's immersive Black Lake music project, will be leading the design and have already shared one concept of how the bright, ground floor space may look. It is conceived as part gallery, part makerspace while being flexible enough to host events to engage with the public.

Autodesk MaRS Concept
The ground floor space will highlight work from Autodesk customers and partners while inspiring visitors on how things may be made in the future

A number of government leaders were at the announcement. Toronto Mayor John Tory said:

“I, as Mayor, want the game changers, the disrupters – we want them growing here. Autodesk is a game changer.”

“Our job is to understand and explore future technology trends and to invent new tech,” said Gordon Kurtenbach, senior director of research at Autodesk. “Our new space will give creators in the community access to a collaborative environment, enabling the next generation of makers and doers to push their crafts into new and unexpected directions with our design tools.”

Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of MaRS said, “Autodesk’s 3D design leadership is evident in products and services around the world and across a broad range of industries. This capability is at the core of breakthrough innovation and will be incredibly valuable to our community. We know that amazing things will come from this expanded collaboration.”

Autodesk Ontarion Premier Wynne
Earlier this month, Ontario's Premier Wynne recently visited Autodesk San Francisco to get a better idea of what Autodesk brings to MaRS, Canada and the World

This is very exciting news for everyone involved! You can read more about this on Autodesk's In the Fold blog.

Autodesk On MaRS

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.



Reimagine Where We Live with Toronto's Emerging Leaders Network

Autodesk is once again a proud sponsor of CivicAction's Emerging Leaders Network ELNstudio on November 7, 2015 at the University of Toronto.


More than 150 rising leaders from the private, public and non-profit sector will come together to generate fresh ideas and innovative solutions to answer one central question:

How might we collaboratively redefine public spaces in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area?

Comprising everything from parks and trails to laneways and sidewalks to collaborative digital space to privately owned community spaces, public spaces are as multifaceted as the region’s inhabitants. 

There’s a unique opportunity for rising leaders to reimagine where we live so that we can work towards creating the public spaces we need for the GTHA of today and tomorrow. Participants will be looking at spaces through five lenses:

  • Connecting Spaces
  • Hybrid Spaces
  • Community Spaces
  • Non-Traditional Public Spaces
  • Technology and Public Spaces

Sign up for ELNstudio now - you will love it! 

Make with Melting

3D printing is fairly common these days and it's also fairly easy to create digital shapes that are difficult to deal with. Sometimes you get support structures that are difficult to remove. Sometimes portions of the model are more fragile than expected due to the position of the 3D printed layers of material relative to applied forces.

Autodesk Research Meltables 3D Printing3D printing your models with hinge style joints and then melting the parts into place may help you get around these problems, as seen in the images below with the before and after state.

Autodesk Research MeltablesThese objects were printed in PLA and melted at 150°C. Gravity did the rest of the work.

This also works for larger scale object such as PVC piping as seen in the object below on the left.

Autodesk Research MeltablesYou can read more about the Meltables research project conducted by the Design and Fabrication group and see some of their results in the video below. At the end of the video you'll see a strength test showing that the melted object is stronger than the standard 3D printed object.

The Open Translation Project

Two years ago, Autodesk embraced Open Learning by releasing our learning resources with Creative Commons licensing. The Open Translation project takes this to the next level by allowing anyone to help translate video learning materials to additional languages.

autodesk open translation project

This project was developed by Judy Bayne from Autodesk's Media and Entertainment group. Judy participated in Autodesk's Idea Exploration Innovation Workshop, a program run by the Research team to help employees bring their great ideas to life. 

As a passionate educator, Judy says it's critical that our world-wide vision for learning requires that we reach out in many languages. To help with this, we’ve partnered with Amara, a collaborative translation platform, to add subtitles to videos.

Autodesk Open TranslationUsers can add subtitles to videos and collaborate to improve each other's translations. 

We would love if you take a look at the results or, even better, try the open translation project yourself