Tom Wujec of Autodesk on how design and technology can change the world:

On November 11th at Toronto’s Ontario Science Centre, over 100 attendees experienced motivating and inspiring talks and presentations at TEDXIBYork.

One of the presenters was Tom Wujec.  Tom is a Fellow at Autodesk, where he has brought to market groundbreaking tomapplications for the world’s leader in 2D and 3D design software, including Maya, which won an Academy Award for its contribution to the film industry.  Tom Wujec uses design and technology to help groups solve problems and understand ideas.  
 
Three Trends that will Change the World:
 
That might not have been the title of his presentation.  But it is one that continues to stay with me.  It was that profound. Tom started his talk outlining 3 trends in technology that are all related:

  1. Digitalized Reality
  2. Infinite Computing
  3. Rapid Fabrication

Digitalized Reality:
 
Using LIDAR (light detection and ranging), an optical remote sensing technology that measures properties of scattered light to find range and/or other information of a distant target, companies are able to create digital models of various built environments.  
 
For example, a company can use LIDAR technology to scan and then create a digital model of a convention centre to help create a space for an upcoming trade show.  From the digital model, a replica model (mainly plastic) can then be built.
 
Infinite Computing:
 
Cloud computing may not be new but its true potential is just beginning to be harnessed.  With computing in the cloud, people and teams are now able to collaborate without the boundaries of geography.  This then leads to a better understanding and improvement of design.
 
Rapid Fabrication:  
 
This is where things come together and really get innovative, interesting and (as a Canadian comedian would say) mind blasting.  
 
With the creativity that results from LIDAR technology to the innovation that comes from cloud computing, companies and institutions will now have the ability to manufacture designs and products locally and at a very reduced cost.  
 
What happens next is this:
 
We now have the ability to “print” things straight from a digital model.  Want to design your own golf club?  People are already doing this according to Tom.  Jewellery and other pieces of art?  Tom says no problem.  What’s next?  
 
Imagine having a printer that printed not just with ink on paper or printing plastic items.  Imagine a printer that can print with metals.  You could then “print” products such as cars.  Imagine a printer that can print with special fabricated thread.  Imagine being able to print a custom made home.  
 
Imagine a printer that could “print” with human tissue and blood vessels.  Do-It-Yourself biology is not far off insisted Tom. But this is not even the “mind blasting” part of Tom’s presentation:
 
Imagine a printer of this power being able to print other printers.