To make computer-aided design (CAD) programmes process easier and faster, researchers have developed a new tool called “InstantCAD” that lets designers interactively edit, improve and optimise CAD models using a more streamlined workflow.
Developed by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and Columbia University, “InstantCAD” integrates with existing CAD programmes as a plug-in.
“From more ergonomic desks to higher-performance cars, this is really about creating better products in less time,” says Adriana Schulz, lead author of the study.
“We think this could be a real game changer for automakers and other companies that want to be able to test and improve complex designs in a matter of seconds to minutes, instead of hours to days,” Schulz said in a paper that will be presented at SIGGRAPH computer-graphics conference in Los Angeles this month.
With “InstantCAD”, the process of improving and optimising the design can be done in real-time, saving engineers days or weeks, the research said.
After an object is designed in a commercial CAD programme, it is sent to a cloud platform where multiple geometric evaluations and simulations are run at the same time.
Users can instantly improve and optimise the design in two ways with this precomputed data.
With “interactive exploration”, a user interface provides real-time feedback on how design changes will affect performance, like how the shape of a plane wing impacts air pressure distribution.
With “automatic optimisation”, users can simply tell the system to give a design with specific characteristics, like a drone that’s as light in weight as possible while still able to carry the maximum amount of weight.
“‘InstantCAD’ could be particularly helpful for more intricate designs for objects like cars, planes, and robots, particularly for industries like car manufacturing that care a lot about squeezing every little bit of performance out of a product,” said Wojciech Matusik, Associate Professor at MIT.