Autodesk Announces New Forge Platform APIs and Forge Fund Investments

Autodesk, a leading 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software provider, announced at Forge DevCon 2016 several updates to the Forge platform including the release of three new APIs; Data Management API, Model Derivative API, and 3D Print API. The company also announced that 3D Robotics (3DR), MakeTime, and Seebo are the initial investees of the Autodesk Forge Fund, a $100M investment fund created to help companies that are “advancing the future of how things are designed, made, and used.”

Screenshot of demo that shows the reporting capability of Autodesk Large Model Viewer (LMV). - View live demo.

This past December, Autodesk unveiled Forge, an initiative aimed at transforming "the future of making things." The Forge Program consists of three main components; the Forge platform (PaaS), developer program, and a $100M investment fund. The cloud-based Forge Platform features APIs and SDKs developers can use to create design, engineering, visualization, collaboration, and other types of enterprise applications. The Forge developer program aims to bring together a community of cloud application developers by providing application development resources and by hosting an annual conference for developers, Forge DevCon.

Autodesk announced at Forge DevCon 2016 several updates to the Forge platform including the release of three new RESTful APIs that can be accessed using HTTP; Data Management API, Model Derivative API, and 3D Print API. The Forge Data Management API allows developers to manage data across A360, Fusion 360, and the native Object Storage Service. The Forge Model Derivative API allows design files to be translated into different formats like STL and OBJ, and prepared for online viewing. The Forge Model Derivative API also allows hierarchy trees, properties, and geometries to be extracted. The Forge 3D Print API allows models to be prepared for a specific printer, allows print jobs to be queued up, and generates the G-code the printer expects.

The company also announced that the Autodesk Forge Fund has initially invested in several companies including 3DR, MakeTime and Seebo. 3DR is using the Forge Platform to build "Site Scan with Autodesk." Site Scan with Autodesk is an aerial data capture and analytics product that can be used by construction, survey, mapping, telecom, and other enterprise field professionals. 3DR is using the Forge platform to take the scans of large geographic sites and turn them into 3D geometry.

Screenshot of residential building model displayed using Autodesk Large Model Viewer (LMV) on the BLDNG360 website. - View live demo.

MakeTime is a virtual machine shop matchmaking service that leverages the Forge platform allowing users to upload a project to MakeTime from within Fusion 360 in one step. Users can continue to iterate on the design while MakeTime matches previous design iterations with qualified U.S. suppliers of turnkey CNC machining. MakeTime determines where there is spare machine shop capacity and the integration with the Forge Platform allows CAD data to be provided to machine shops to fill idle machines.

Seebo, a provider of tools and software for the development of smart products and IoT applications, has connected Autodesk applications such as Fusion 360 and Fusion Connect with the Seebo platform creating a product design framework where users can drag and drop sensors, Bluetooth, accelerometers, GPS, and other components.

ProgrammableWeb reached out to Scott Reese, VP of Cloud Products at Autodesk, who provided some insight into the Forge Program and the new Forge APIs. Reese explained that Autodesk has been involved in 25 years of API work, most of the work involving internal software APIs. Autodesk is now working on opening up the intellectual property of the platform making it available via cloud-based services and APIs. The company has the infrastructure in place and has been working with a large developer network; there are over 3,000 developers involved primarily in the application API side of things.

Reese told ProgrammableWeb that they are seeing rapid adoption of the Forge Platform and the number of API keys issued has doubled in the months since its launch. He also said that the company will be rapidly releasing more APIs in the coming months. They are very excited about the future of the Forge Program and they are seeing customers do really amazing things with Forge APIs. Reese said that by making the capabilities of the platform available via cloud services, Autodesk is becoming a platform company.

For more information about the Autodesk Forge Program, Forge Platform and APIs, and the Forge Fund, visit http://forge.autodesk.com

Janet Wagner is a technical writer and contributor to ProgrammableWeb who covers breaking news and in-depth analysis. She specializes in creating well-researched, in-depth content about APIs, machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, analytics, and other advanced technologies.
 

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