plans 3D printing and robotics ‘innovation lab’

In the US, software giant Autodesk is planning to open an innovation lab in Boston to focus on technologies that are changing the construction industry.

The Building Innovation Learning and Design (BUILD) space will allow Autodesk staff and academic researchers to explore new technologies such as robots, programmable laser cutters, 3D printers and milling machines, as well as other tools.

Autodesk vice president Jim Lynch told the Boston Globe that the research would look at the possibilities for 3D printing individual elements or even entire buildings as a way to control costs and improve the quality of construction projects.

The project will also include a “researchers-in-residence” programme, offering academics around six months of access to the BUILD space and Autodesk’s employees’ expertise.

BUILD aims is to bring together students, entrepreneurs and researchers to explore new tools and ways to make design and construction more efficient, explained Lynch. “BUILD will allow entrepreneurs and students and people from industry to explore all kinds of new materials and processes,” he said.

The centre will “really allow people to explore what the next generation of the building industry might look like”, Lynch told website Bostinno, adding that another factor in the move to Boston was the proximity to young talent coming out of universities and to experienced entrepreneurs.

Autodesk is also in discussions with the building’s landlord to gain access to electrical, heating, and air conditioning systems so that energy-efficient sensor and control technologies can be tested.

Along with the innovation centre in south Boston’s Seaport District, the building will also contain an office for 200 employees that will act as the Californian company’s east coast HQ.

The BUILD facility will open in spring 2016 with the office staff moving into the building in October.

BUILD will allow entrepreneurs and students and people from industry to explore all kinds of new materials and processes.– Jim Lynch, vice president, Autodesk

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