Autodesk University 2014: Main session live blog

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Depending on who’s writing we’re in Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada, or on a sofa in East London

Welcome, wherever you are to Autodesk University 2014, the titular software company’s colossal user event in Las Vegas.

DEVELOP3D is mob handed in covering this year’s event, with Al Dean and Martyn Day putting in the hours on the ground, while the rest of us sit back and watch events unfold from afar.

The main session saw Autodesk CEO Carl Bass, CTO Jeff Kowalski and special guest Emily Pilloton, founder of Project H, take to the stage to discuss the future of design and engineering.

Read Stephen Holmes‘ live coverage below the line as it happened, and send him any questions or opinions you might have via Twitter.


11.42 – With some closing pleasantries Carl exits the stage and the hall full of nearly 7,000 people are now flocking to explore #AU2014. We’re on site for the full event, so stay tuned for even more updates as they come.

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11.41 – ‘It’s the maker spaces and labs that are the hubs of schools now – not the libraries’ – Carl Bass

11.40 – Carl’s back and has nothing but praise for Project H. ‘The key to all our success is finding young people who understand the tools’. Autodesk is making its software free to any student, anywhere in the world.

11.39 – Working with young people who are “pretty much the design team I’ve alway wanted” – Emily Pilloton

11.37 – Schoolgirls go from pretty little birdhouses… to welding. Nobody’s telling them that they ‘can’t do it’, so they crack on – and now have great welding skills.

11.35 – Next up students helped design and build a library. With some shelving created with the aid of Carl Bass’s workshop. He’s a good bloke is our Carl.

11.31 – Great story about how Project H create a farmers market – creating jobs and growth in a city where this just doesn’t happen. The kids built something and had a leadership role. Ace stuff.

11.27 – Time for Emily Pilloton (bios are at the bottom of the page, remember). Project H started 7 years ago, and with a real creative hub to it.

11.25 – ‘Bringing things out from the computer and into the real world.’ Carl’s got a new way to get in touch with them – Subscribe to Autodesk – it will give access to all the tools for a single price, using them on any machine anywhere in the world. Sounds like big news.

11.25 – Digital tools being bought to the construction site also.

11.22 – “CNC technology is poised to resurrect itself” As these technologies become more accessible, melding them together becomes more viable.

11.21 – The future isn’t all 3D printing – it’s robots too

11.20 – Spark Fund gets a rep, was does the Ember 3D printer – it’s open software, open hardware and open materials. They’re taking pre-orders today and they’ll ship early in the new year.

11.18 – ‘3D Printing is the closest thing we have to the Star Trek replicator’ – yup… There’s a lot of problems still associated with it. So here’s Spark! ‘We’re really working to drive 3D printing forward’.

11.15 – Rendering, with lots infinite compute power, shouldn’t be a special thing that is done only while we sleep. Autodesk’s new Lagoa team are at the heart of letting it work on any design. Annoyingly Autodesk denied this acquisition only a few days ago…

11.14 – Collaborative working on the same model with different devices at the same time.

11.13 – ‘The cloud provides a natural hub for collaboration – what has changed and what needs to be done’ – Carl Bass

11.12 – Autodesk 360 – everyone at AU is getting a free one-year subscription! Alright for them. ‘It’s all about the collaboration,’ says Carl.

11.11 – Reality capture and gathering data – it can take many forms, from face capture for animation in SFX, or geo data for cities. All of it is computable data. It allows the computer to take on the foundation work, letting you design more.

11.10 – Live stream is back working properly!!

11.07 – Here’s Carl Bass folks. Entering to ‘All about the bass’. L.A.D.

11.06 –

11.05 – It’s all about the new materials – the next big leap in engineering:

11.04 – This man says it all:

11.01 – The monstrous robot – today it’s building bridges. Tomorrow it’s riding down a storm drain on a Harley Davidson:

11.00 – Still the live stream is buggered… Turn it off… Turn it back on again…

10.57 – It’s all going Skynet as Kowalski wants devices to talk to each other, not just us… Some robots building a bridge is meant to placate that sense of fear? I don’t think so.

10.56 – ‘It isn’t about the things. Not even about the internet. It should be about experience and value.’

10.55 – If you got Internet of Things in the drinking game lotto then it’s your turn to down a shot – Kowalski has name dropped ‘smart connected products’

10.53 – Generative design is seen as an overlap between optimisation and topology to get the right parts, with the right strength, with the minimum waste.

10.52 – Thankfully Al hasn’t forgot about the acquisition of Within Labs and its amazing generative design technology:

10.51 – This is heading towards 3D printing – and most likely Spark – to manufacture the parts from generative design.

10.49 – Generative design is the key issue in the future – letting the designer concentrate on the intent and the tech iterates on the designs until it meets your objectives.

10.48 –

10.47 – Kowalski is aiming to help computers understand relationships among components in a system. Some people aren’t convinced already…

10.44 – There’s been a big mess-up with the live stream. A lot of unhappy Twitter rantings…

10.43 –

10.42 – Martyn’s early report get’s down with nature:

10.40 – Jeff Kowalski is up on stage, suit, shirt, no tie

10.38 – We did warn about health and safety…

10.36 – We’re going Back to the Future… Hang on for some acting… And the giant T-shirt cannon!

10.32 – It’s pretty packed in there:

10.31 – Lynn Allen is starting proceedings. Our live feed has died 🙁

10.30am – Time to get proceedings underway from the cavernous Mandalay Bay auditorium. The man is announcing it is time to take your seats. We’ve grabbed a cheeky espresso and are ready to roll.


15 mins to go – The curious case of Carl Bass and the missile turret

Don’t worry folks (and legal people. Especially the legal people), that isn’t something repurposed from those disgruntled ISIS chaps, it’s actually a T-Shirt cannon turret.


30 mins to go – Is there an Inventor in the house?

Inventor 2015 featured direct modelling tools

With all the talk of Fusion 360 we shouldn’t forget Autodesk’s key tool for product and industrial design – Inventor.

The old war horse is still pushing on hard into its 2015 release, with the introduction of direct editing, freeform surface modelling and lots more.

If you need to know more you should check out our review, here.


45 mins to go – A history lesson…

The fine young men and women of DEVELOP3D have been attending AU for some time now.

While you’ve 45 minutes to pop the kettle on and have a biscuit, why don’t you read our report from last year’s event here.

12 months ago it was all about Autodesk’s move into the world of CAM. This year we’re expecting more on its 3D printing software Spark, and hopefully some progression for its cloud CAD tool Fusion 360.


One hour to go – Intros please…

While we’ve a little time amongst ourselves to the curtain is thrown back, here’s a quick briefing on who you’re about to see.

In case you’re wondering just who Carl Bass is, we’ll let him introduce himself, as he did when he came over to speak at our annual event, DEVELOP3D LIVE:

//player.vimeo.com/video/65835482?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0&color=ff0179

DEVELOP3D Live: Carl Bass, CEO, Autodesk – Interview from DEVELOP3D on Vimeo.

If you want to see his full talk from the event, and it was a real doozy, then check it out here.

While we’re busy with intros, Jeff Kowalski prior to being named CTO in 2006, served as Senior Director of Autodesk Worldwide Subscription Programs, and directed product development within the Autodesk Collaboration Services Division.

As far as we know, he’s no relation to this guy.

Finally, should you be unaware, Emily Pilloton is the founder of Project H, a nonprofit design firm that uses the power of creativity, design, and hands-on building to transform communities and improve K-12 public education.

Emily’s Project H bio is interesting stuff, not least her crush on MacGyver:

Emily founded Project H in 2008, believing deeply in the power of design and building to excite learning and citizenship.

Her first crush, MacGyver, sparked her love of constrained problem-solving and tinkering.

She went on to study architecture and building because it was the one thing that allowed her to geek out about everything, from math and structural engineering to ethnography and the fascinating behavior of people.

Emily believes that by giving youth, particularly girls and students of color, the skills to design and build their wildest ideas, we can support the next generation of creative, confident change makers.

Her ideas and work have made their way to the TED Stage, The Colbert Report, the New York Times, and more. She is the author of two books, Design Revolution: 100 Products that Empower People, and Tell Them I Built This: Transforming Schools, Communities, and Lives with Design-Based Education.

When she isn’t welding with her 10-year-old Camp H girls or co-teaching Studio H, Emily loves to run, write, rabble-rouse, and eat unreasonable amounts of Mexican food.

One of Project H’s benefactors displaying her laser-etched skateboard project


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