3D printed Smart Bridge unveiled at Autodesk University 2022
According to Arabian Business, the first prototype of a real-scale, five-meter long, 3D printed pedestrian Smart Bridge was unveiled at the Autodesk University (AU) 2022 conference, which took place on September 27-29 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The bridge was designed in the UAE, in partnership with American software company, Autodesk, and Lebanese engineering company, Dar Al-Handasah.
The Autodesk University 2022 conference saw Middle Eastern organizations such as The Red Sea Project, SYSTRA (the developers behind Etihad Rail), Abu Dhabi Municipality, and the Ministry of Culture and Youth in attendance.
The smart bridge was created using artificial intelligence, robotics, digital twin technology, and 3D printing, and is part of Dar Al-Handasah’s efforts to introduce a safer, more sustainable, and smarter design to the country through its digital capabilities and innovations.
Dar Al-Handasah used the generative design feature in Autodesk’s Fusion 360 to bring the bridge to life. As a global leader in design, Autodesk has also been part of other projects in the UAE such as the Museum of the Future and the Abu Dhabi Louvre.
The bridge was originally printed as a two-meter long interactive pedestrian bridge made from fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP). “The two-meter Smart Bridge is the first outcome of the first stream. The next step is to design and print a more advanced five-meter bridge with a more advanced design concept and recyclable material to augment the process to a larger span and monitor its behavior over time,” said a post on Dar Al-Handasah’s website which broke down the plan for the project, last year.
“In the latest chapter of a significant partnership, Dar collaborated with Autodesk’s research and manufacturing divisions to create the Smart Bridge, a first of its kind in the EMEA region,” said Ghassan Zein, senior associate, and digital practice manager at Dar Al-Handasah. “Dar and Autodesk were able to provide a proof of concept that construction can be more intelligent, safer, and more sustainable.”
“The Smart Bridge is unique in combining the use of evolutionary designs, recyclable materials with a low carbon footprint, and the latest technology that can create and transform a state structure into a smart one, linked to an interactive artificial intelligence system with the ability to monitor, report, and take action,” said Charles Malek, Director of Structures and Information Technology Departments at Dar Al-Handasah, last year. “We strongly believe that large-scale 3D printing is here to stay. Combining it with the immense potential of generative design and sustainable materials guides our commitment to deliver this collaborative project and begin paving the way for a new era in engineering.”
For more on the world of 3D printed bridges, check out MX3D’s canal bridge, in Amsterdam, and Weber Beamix’s concrete bridge, in Nijmegen.