Kylee Swenson on
Here at Accent, we are interested in everything design related, especially how new technologies are changing the field. We’ve already talked to people who are changing the world of web design and media, but the material world is changing, too. To learn more about the effects of machine learning, generative design, and robotics, we talked to Kylee Swenson, the Editor-in-Chief of Redshift.
Redshift is an online publication from Autodesk that covers innovative technologies in the field of manufacturing, architecture, infrastructure, and construction. The publication grew from another site, Line//Shape//Space. While the first iteration once focused on distributing relevant stories for small businesses willing to innovate, Redshift is writing to a wider audience of entrepreneurs, designers, and engineers about the future of products, buildings, and cities.
Editor-in-Chief of Redshift
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND LAUNCHING REDSHIFT?
When we were rebranding Line//Shape//Space, we wanted the publication to represent the shift that was happening in the design world. Our new CEO, Andrew Anagnost, has a background in aeronautical engineering and used to work at NASA, so that inspired me to look through a glossary of space terms for naming ideas that would better express our mission. Through our team brainstorms, we landed on “redshift,” a term for the measurement of how far away an object in space is traveling from the Earth. While the universe is continuously expanding, so is design and technology, and Autodesk wants to be on the forefront of that change.
Our goal with Redshift is to explore the future of making things and demystify the trends and technology—such as machine learning, AR/VR, Internet of Things, generative design, robotics, reality capture, hybrid manufacturing, and cloud collaboration—that will impact the world. We also spotlight the innovative people trying to solve important problems.
Caress of the Gaze
What if our outfit could recognize and respond to the gaze of the other? This is an interactive 3D printed wearable which can detect other people’s gaze and respond accordingly with life-like behavior.
Created by Behnaz Farahi
Editor/Sound Design — Charlie Nordstrom
Cinematography — Elena Kulikova & Charlie Nordstrom
HOW WILL NEW TECHNOLOGIES CHANGE THE WAY DESIGNERS WORK?
There are a lot of opportunities. We often think about VR as a gaming and entertainment technology, but it can be used in other industries, such as architecture and manufacturing. There are a lot of ways in which VR is going to completely change people’s work. We will be able to step inside our designs and test them. VR is already helping manufacturers.
VR and machine learning are advancing pretty fast, so I think we are going to see a lot of these changes soon. Robots won’t take away everyone’s jobs; in the future, people will work with robots, which will actually give designers and engineers the space and time to solve more complex issues than ever before. Because lot of simpler tasks and problems will be automated by things like machine learning, specialists will have more time to think creatively about increasingly complex problems.
DESIGNERS AND ENGINEERS WILL SOLVE MORE COMPLEX ISSUES THAN EVER BEFORE
WHAT SORT OF COMPLEX CHALLENGES ARE DESIGNERS GOING TO HAVE TO HELP SOLVE?
Humankind will have to deal with big challenges like population growth, climate change, etc., and we need designers and engineers to help find solutions.
Recently, I worked on a story about a company called Mills Group. It’s an amazing architecture firm in West Virginia focused on sustainability. They built the Health and Wellness Center in Williamson, a small coal-industry town that is facing a lot of challenges. For example, West Virginia scores the lowest on the wellness index for the US. What I like about Mills Group the most is that they took blue-collar jobs and transformed them into green-collar jobs by training unemployed and underemployed workers to install solar panels and geothermal systems. They’re solving problems for the local community. I am always looking for that kind of a story, something that is going to have an impact and change the world for the better.
MADELINE THE ROBOT TAMER
Madeline Gannon developed a project called Quipt – a gesture-based control software that gives industrial robots basic spatial behaviors for interacting closely with people.
Director, Camera & Editor — Charlie Nordstrom
Assistant Editor — Blue Bergen
Music — “Empty Trees” by Ketsa
WILL THESE NEW TOOLS AFFECT OUR EVERYDAY OBJECTS, TOO?
Everyday objects will be reinvented with the help of generative design, which is a collaboration between a designer or engineer and a computer using artificial-intelligence algorithms. You could say, “I want this chair to hold this much weight, cost this much, and use this material.” You input that information, and the computer can generate hundreds—even thousands—of options that you probably never would have thought of on your own, and they all meet the criteria.
It will be easier both to create things faster and enhance the construction. With generative design, you can make structures much lighter yet just as strong. For example, Airbus created a lightweight “bionic partition” using generative design and 3D printing, which helps reduce fuel and carbon emissions.
BLOOMS: Strobe Animated Sculptures
Blooms are 3-D printed sculptures designed to animate when spun under a strobe light. Unlike a 3D zoetrope, which animates a sequence of small changes to objects, a bloom animates as a single self-contained sculpture.
Created by John Edmark
Director, Camera & Editor — Charlie Nordstrom
ARE THERE ANY INDUSTRIES THAT ARE BEHIND THE TIMES WHEN IT COMES TO USING NEW TECHNOLOGIES?
There are a lot of opportunities in the construction industry, but it has been slow to digitize. It’s crucial that industries like this catch up because, as the world’s population increases and the climate changes, it’s important to use all the resources we have to build better and faster.
Building Information Modeling, for one, is changing the way architects, engineers, and contractors work on building and infrastructure projects. It allows them to identify issues and solve them before they even start building. If you don’t use 3D models, it can result in a lot of waste and lost money. Using technology such as BIM, drones, reality capture, the cloud, and even machine learning, there are a lot of opportunities for the construction industry to build more sustainably and cost effectively.
IF YOU WANT TO INNOVATE, DON’T SPEND TOO MUCH TIME DWELLING ON YOUR FAILURES
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO DESIGNERS TO STAY COMPETITIVE IN THIS CHANGING LANDSCAPE?
If you want to innovate, don’t spend too much time dwelling on your problems and failures—just learn from them. Recently, we interviewed naval engineer Christine Dailey, and her story really inspired me. In middle school, her counselors told her that she should quit school and just get a fast-food job because of her dyslexia, but she kept following her dreams. Now she’s a mechanical engineer at the Naval Research Laboratory, is pursuing her PhD, and has designed autonomous vehicles and antimissile protection systems. I think she is an excellent example of somebody who found her way despite adversity.