Autodesk goes big on prefab buildings, AMD releases new GPU for AEC – Coffee Break News

Updated Oct 4, 2023
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The month of July is coming to close, Scan2CAD friends. In this edition of Coffee Break News, we will update you on a lot of new and exciting things happening in the worlds of engineering, design, technology, and CAD. Stories to watch out for in this edition of our monthly news roundup include Autodesk’s initiative in an urban construction startup firm; AMD releasing its new graphics card for the AEC segment; and how Morpholio is using augmented reality to turn furniture designs from imagination to reality. 

Other stories we thought you might find interesting include: the new Joyride shoes from Nike designed to make your runs more comfortable; a knee-powered energy harvester for electronic devices; and a new probiotic clothing concept for healthy skin, activated by sweat!

There’s so much to get into in this month’s Coffee Break News, so let’s get started. 

Autodesk earmarks undisclosed investment towards prefab construction firm Factory OS

The construction firm is known for its heavy use of software in its construction of homes, thereby minimizing waste while also speeding up the process. Two years ago, Google worked with Factory OS in a $30 million project to construct short-term housing for its employees in the San Francisco Bay area. Autodesk has already partnered with Factory OS previously via its foundation arm, giving the firm free use of donated software licenses to help the startup in its initial phases. This investment, however, will be the first impact investment made by Autodesk towards Factory OS. 

Joe Speicher, executive director of Autodesk Foundation, explained, “I would argue that looking at the short-term horizon, modular construction looks to be ripe to solve some of our housing challenges. Engaging in this deeper relationship allows us to explore how we can add value.”

Autodesk and Factory OS are looking to integrate and streamline their software platforms in order to simplify design, fabrication, and supply chain management processes. The deal will also maximize Factory OS’s waste material reduction abilities in construction through the use of new digital technologies. Speicher added, “Most companies are very aware that automation and machine learning are disrupting many sectors. They are actually doing something about it.”

Aside from Autodesk, there are several other tech companies channeling substantial investments towards innovative strategies for solving the problem of affordable housing in hot markets such as Seattle and Silicon Valley. Recent investments have included Amazon’s $6.7 million-Series A funding for Plant Prefab.

AMD launches the new Radeon Pro WX 3200 graphics card

The product was launched with relatively little fanfare, but this graphics card is seen to fill a niche that AMD sees a lot of potential in, which is the AEC (architecture, engineering, construction) and manufacturing industries. The Radeon Pro WX 3200 is ISV-certified, fits into small-form CAD workstations, and is quite affordable, staying in the under-$200 budget. 

AMD touted its compact and cost-efficient graphics card in a blog post which also detailed the software programs compatible with the new product, including ANSYS, Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk Revit, CNC Software Mastercam, Dassault Systemes Abaqus, Graphisoft ArchiCAD, Siemens PLM Software Solid Edge, and many more. 

According to AMD, the Radeon Pro WX 3200 is about 33 percent faster than the WX 3100 which came before it. The graphics card works with 4GB of GDDR5 memory, 128-bit interface. The driver set for the graphics card is AMD Radeon Pro Software for Enterprise, along with other AMD Radeon Pro GPUs. 

Design firm Morpholio is now using augmented reality to bring to life a range of iconic furniture designs

Morpholio is teaming up with manufacturer Knoll and leading AR visualization company Thei Interactive to showcase the works of such known designers like Eero Saarinen, Mies van der Rohe, and Marcel Breuer, with the help of AR. 

Morpholio is pushing the limits of how far they can use Augmented Reality in this industry. Anna Kenoff, the co-founder of Morpholio, said, “Knoll’s collection is not only beautiful; the attention to detail made the furniture a perfect argument for why AR needed to go further using Apple’s new USDZ 3D file format.”

The team needed to hurdle two major obstacles, the first one being the detail. As Kenoff explained, “Consumers and interior designers do not rely on cartoonish shapes to make critical decisions about color, space, scale and texture. They need to see detailed finishes, patterns and even stitching to understand how something might really work in an environment.” Morpholio’s popular Board App now combines the abilities of Apple’s ARKit, USDZ 3D file format, iOS13’s “People Occlusion”, and Theia’s AR expertise to solve the detail conundrum.

The other obstacle was answering the question of why AR would be needed in this regard in the first place. Morpholio’s goal was to make AR part of an even bigger process. Mark Collins, co-founder of Morpholio, said, “This isn’t about hitting the buy button on a single piece of furniture. This is powerful visualization technology that needed to be plugged into the entire interior design workflow, helping homeowners and designers alike to imagine and curate spaces holistically.”

Bill Fishkin of Theia sums it up, “By bringing these pieces into AR, we’ve changed the way people can interact with and consider the furniture that will surround them when creating their ideal home or office.  The result is a first in the space and truly redefines how we understand what good AR can do for the design industry.”

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