Education

RIT and Autodesk agree university-wide software expansion

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in New York has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with award-winning 3D software company Autodesk. As part of the partnership agreement between the two entities, Autodesk software will be used to expand RIT’s multidisciplinary educational initiatives across the university.

The signing of the MOU took place during a visit of RIT’s MAGIC Spell Studios and AMPrint Center from Autodesk executives. It is said to be the first university-wide partnership between Autodesk and a U.S. college.

“I am delighted that RIT is teaming up with Autodesk on this campus-wide agreement. Together, we will advance the intersection of technology, design and making,” said Ellen Granberg, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs.

“Autodesk software can already be found across our university and, with this new agreement, we will be able to expand the array of multidisciplinary opportunities available to our students and faculty.”

Stan Rickel (right), associate professor of industrial design in the School of Design, speaks with Autodesk executives during the software company’s recent visit to RIT. Photo via RIT.
Stan Rickel (right), associate professor of industrial design in the School of Design, speaks with Autodesk executives during the software company’s recent visit to RIT. Photo via RIT.

Generative Design across RIT

Autodesk’s cloud-based CAD Fusion 360 software, featuring Generative Design technology, is now available to all faculty and students at RIT. With this tool, users can automatically generate a range of possible forms from the input of design goals, along with parameters such as materials, manufacturing methods, and cost constraints. A current trend within the additive manufacturing industry, a number of different generative design platforms have been introduced by companies in recent years. The key benefit of such software is that it provides designers with forms they may never have imagined before, optimized for strength and purpose.

Gregg Stoklosa, an Autodesk program manager and RIT alumni who graduated in 1966, helped to establish access to the technology for RIT.

Different permutations of a design in Generative Design technology. Screengrab via Autodesk.
Different permutations of a design in Generative Design technology. Screengrab via Autodesk.

Expanding the relationship between RIT and Autodesk

This new partnership represents the latest development in a longstanding relationship between RIT and Autodesk. The two entities signed a previous MOU two years ago, in which RIT students were provided with access to alpha and beta versions of Autodesk software. The company has also been a sponsor for several research projects at RIT, concerning sustainability, accessibility and additive manufacturing.

Furthermore, Alex Lobos, associate professor and graduate director of industrial design in the School of Design at RIT, has delivered presentations alongside Autodesk executives and is a member of the Autodesk University Advisory Council. Regarding the latest collaboration, Lobos commented:

“I’m very excited that RIT and Autodesk are expanding this relationship to an even higher level. Increasing the integration of technology, design and engineering across our campus will enable more multidisciplinary collaborations and engagement for RIT students and faculty.” 

Autodesk in education

RIT is not the only educational institution that Autodesk has collaborated with. Previously, University of Warwick fourth year students used Autodesk Fusion 360 software to develop an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), to aid in mountainside rescue as part of the UK government sponsored program Horizon (AM).

The company also collaborated with Penn State University on a project as part of the Manufacturing PA Innovation Program, funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED). Specifically, Autodesk is a part of the project to work on developing laser-based additive manufacturing with the university.

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Featured image shows different permutations of a design in Generative Design technology. Screengrab via Autodesk.