Autodesk Gallery at One Market in San Francisco Exhibit: Bridge to the future Exhibit


"Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down." — Simon & Garfunkel


a 1:5 scale model of a bridge concept design fabricated by robots and 3D printing

The Autodesk Gallery at One Market in San Francisco celebrates design — the process of taking a great idea and turning it into a reality. With about 60 different exhibits regularly on display that showcase the innovative work of Autodesk customers, the gallery illustrates the role technology plays in great design and engineering. Autodesk Gallery Ambassadors conduct gallery tours as a sideline to their day jobs. The tours provide employees with opportunities to practice public speaking in front of small groups.

The Bridge to the future exhibit is an exhibit that you see upon first entering the 2nd floor of our One Market office in San Francisco:




There's no question that additive manufacturing — or 3D printing — is part of the future of making things, but the technology has traditionally been limited by small print sizes and poor material performance. Now MX3D is changing all that.

By combining digital design technology, robotics, and traditional industrial production, MX3D will 3D print a bridge over a canal in the center of Amsterdam — demonstrating the tantalizing possibilities for printing large-scale, functional objects.

BridgeDesign1-1024 by Joris Laarman Lab

Bridge8-1024 by Olivier de Gruijter

Bridge13-1024 by Olivier de Gruijter

Employing design software often produces incredibly complex forms that use precise amounts of material, exactly where needed, to define optimized structures that far exceed the performance of traditional fabrication techniques, and until recently, we didn't have the machines that could produce such forms, at least not on a larger scale.

Enter the robots. Unlike your average industrial robot that performs standardized tasks such as welding or part assembly, these 6-axis robots 3D print metal in mid-air, from virtually any angle, bringing to mind the old trope about building the car while you’re driving it. Well, guess what? MX3D and its robots are using the latest hardware and software to do just that — literally building the bridge as we walk across it.

Though people worry that "robots are coming for us," at Autodesk, we believe "robots are coming for us." Robots will self-drive delivery trucks to bring us beer, vacuum our homes, and now, build us a bridge.

BridgeDesign2-1024 by Joris Laarman Lab

The MX3D bridge will be installed over a canal in Amsterdam in early 2018.

At Autodesk, we believe machine intelligence and robotic fabrication will herald a new age of construction, and we're using the technologies to develop tools that will enable the creation of more human-centric designs with more freedom of form, faster build times, reduced waste, and increased safety. The MX3D bridge is just one example of what happens when computer-aided design meets additive robotic fabrication, and when an artificially intelligent system pairs up with human creativity to design a bridge. The result is pretty amazing.

Thanks to the Autodesk Gallery team for the descriptive text for this blog post.

The Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco is open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. There is a guided tour on Wednesdays at 12:30 pm and a self-guided audio tour available anytime. Come check out the model of the bridge and other exhibits. Admission is free. Visit us.

Passage is alive in the lab.