Eighteen years past the turn of the century, the world is entering into a new age that gives the term evolution a new meaning. We’ve seen the rise of industry, followed by a surge in transportation technology as we moved past the horse and buggy to enhanced public and private transportation. Since the 1980s, computer technology, along with the development of artificial intelligence has propelled the world into a new era where design and architecture is entering a trans-formative stage through the invention of generative design tools that use the language of algorithm to follow a program for creating new designs that are stronger and use less material. Design as we know it is set to make a radical jump into what was once believed to be a futuristic, science fiction scenario.
Projections for the future of design
Experts believe that by as soon as 2020, generative design will be commonplace. The generative design tools are evolving, seemingly as a new species. Currently, 3D printers generate tangible goods using algorithms that tell them what to do through preset parameters. Current generative technology is churning out components for new homes, the soles of shoes and nearly any textile you can imagine. Add to this, the explosion in artificial intelligence and machine learning, and the necessary ingredients are in place for machines that will create their own designs that are more efficient, use lighter materials and less to construct the items that humans once made by hand, or manually with machine assistance.
How will this alter basic design concepts?
Humans use their inborn creativity to create designs that are aesthetically pleasing and composed of straight lines and solid surfaces. These, however are “anomalies in nature,” and if generative design tools, replete with AI features and the ability to create new and more efficient designs based on organic concepts are placed in charge of generating these images, what are the implications for the finished products? It has been suggested that another evolution is coming and it will be in formation of new shapes and lines that usher in a more advanced age in design concepts, with an organic, yet space age aesthetic.
Stronger more durable structures
Humans have long used molds to reproduce products according to a solid design concept. 3D printing and the technology behind it has found a better way to manufacture items with a less solid, more skeletal means of creating form known as additive manufacturing. This design schema is based upon the notion of using the least amount of material necessary to generate stronger structures, of course based on technology and the capacity of the computer based programs used.
Fusion 360 software and Autodesk
Innovations in programming have brought generative software to the fore. Humans set the basic parameters for a design guide and the computer produces every possible version of the most efficient, material saving design within the set parameters, allowing the designer to select the preferred option. The software suggests the best path for structures that are more comfortable, stronger, lighter and cost efficient to produce. This can be done with practically any tangible goods.
Autodesk is working on the Project Dreamcatcher generative design tool and indicates that there is a global race to further develop the next generation of Autodesk to stay ahead of the other major companies in the world who are looking into the technology. It’s a serious proposition for the manufacturing world and the sales manager for Autodesk points out that many manufacturers have not yet realized the potential impact that generative design will have upon the industry. It will revolutionize design and the manufacturing industries in a way that has not yet been seen. A thorough investigation into the technology with plans to adopt the new methods is necessary to maintain an edge in competition, because it’s only a matter of time until larger nations will.
Cost savings across the board
The implications for mass producing aerospace components, housing, textiles and much more are mind boggling. Whoever fully develops this technology to its fullest the first, could benefit from the tremendous savings in the manufacturing process, placing them in a superior position over their competitors. New products with a different look are likely to become a part of our everyday lives within the next decade. We’ll see new designs unfold at the suggestion of computers, aided through advanced software and it’s believed that AI may even provide some problem solving features that prove to be lucrative in the years to come. We currently have the technology in place and now it’s a matter of refining it and continuing to develop the capabilities.