Good news for generative design fans! Autodesk’s cloud-based Generative Design service is now available to users of Autodesk’s flagship Fusion 360 Ultimate software.


The service gives engineers the power of cloud-based simulation and design, meaning that designers are no longer constrained to the old ways of doing things and instead are free to explore designs that were hitherto impossible.

Generatively designed swing arm for an electric bike. (Image courtesy of Autodesk.)


Let’s just recap what Autodesk’s Generative Design service is, and what it means for designers.

The Generative Design service is a cloud-based service that runs on Fusion 360 Ultimate, and which allows designers to input design requirements before the software designs solutions within a specified design space. And we aren’t just talking about a few different choices here—the Generative Design platform can provide literally hundreds or thousands of valid design options that all fulfill a designer’s requirements. And not only does the service provide a selection of designs to choose from, but it provides performance analysis data on exactly how those designs fulfill or exceed the requirements.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how Generative Design works:
  1. The designer inputs requirements based on constraints such as weight, cost, material, volume and strength.
  2. The computer uses algorithms and AI to generate thousands of designs while conducting a performance analysis on each design.
  3. The designer studies the options and can change the design goals if needed, allowing humans into the design iteration loop. The computer also uses its AI to create pre-validated solutions.
  4. The file is exported and is ready for production of the prototype. If the designers and engineers aren’t satisfied with the result, or wish to explore other options, they can repeat step 3 as needed.

If products created using Autodesk’s Generative Design service appear organic and natural to you, then there is a good reason for that. The Generative Design algorithms utilize a method called form synthesis, which takes cues from nature, effectively growing new forms that resemble bone and sinew.

Now that this technology has entered the main stage with Fusion 360 Ultimate, we can expect to see a bold new world of product design, not just in high-end engineering applications, but in consumer goods as well.

Exciting times indeed!


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