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Is Generative Design the End of Traditional CAD?

Traditionally, the design process was limited by the imagination of the designer. Generative design puts an end to that. Imagine having almost unlimited computing power from the cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) software that can interpret some basic attributes of the part as weight and height and can then generate thousands of variations that a person alone could not have conceived.

This technology leverages the power of machine learning using an iterative approach to come up with different variations of a single shape exploring almost all possibilities. One of the main benefits of this technology is the ability for engineers to design quickly hundreds of evolutionary parts that share the same basic characteristics, but explore possible permutations and alternatives.

The benefits of generative design are not confined solely to shapes variation. The designer could specify materials to be used or machining constraints that would limit some of the options. The generative design process would base the proposal to incorporate the characteristics of the material or manufacturing process.

Autodesk, a leading software manufacturer for computer design software, is incorporating generative design as part of its product line. Recently, Autodesk used the power of generative design for the new offices in the Toronto MARs innovation center. The architectural design incorporated six basic constraints as work style, adjacency preference, distraction level, lights, outside view, and interconnectivity. The result was a work place that incorporated different styles and requirements, something impossible to conceive with a single architectural blueprint.

Source: SoftwareReviews, Accessed July 17, 2019

Our Take

Generative design challenges the entire creative process. In the past, creation would initiate in the engineer’s head and be realized in the CAD system. Now, generative design challenges that approach by using an evolutionary process that iterates while maintaining some basic constraints to achieve thousands of possible alternative designs.

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