When I say Labs you are probably thinking of, either a beloved family pet, or a cold, clinical environment where the Zombie virus is currently being cultivated.
Make your choice, but we all think its one or the other.
Autodesk Labs on the other hand is my third favourite place on the internet, behind Twitter and Facebook. Why? because its the public playground for all things future in the Autodesk world.
Labs is the place where early concept software and add in’s are given to us, “normal” Autodesk users to play with, break and feedback, for the cycle to then start again.
Some of these features die, either from no-one using them or they just don’t make financial sense. Understandable, why develop something just because its cool, if no-one wants it or isn’t willing to pay for it, whats the point?
Some features become parts of the main products (ShareNow Add-in) or stand alone products of their own (Project Photofly looks a lot like ReCap360), and some products hang around in the Labs forever, I’m looking at you 2D to 3D tool, my personal favorite app from the Labs, its been alive in the lab since around 2011 (I think). Watch this video to see how you can take drawing information from an old AutoCAD drawing into Inventor and turn that into a 3D part quickly.
Unfortunately this is the last time the 2Dto3D tool will be revived as Inventor now has some fantastic tools for inserting and linking DWG files directly into your models. I’ll be sad to see it go.
There is a large list of Labs projects and their history here, Labs History. This goes back to 2006 and lets you have a glimpse of what has happened in the Labs to shape the products you use today, and trust me its a significant list of projects, some of which you will instantly be able to reference back to your product, whether Revit, Inventor, AutoCAD or any other Autodesk product. There are improvements there for every piece of software.
Autodesk Labs allows Autodesk to have an alpha test of products and features before getting too deep into the development cycle, but most of all it allows me to try out new technology and improve the way I do things, then feed that back to Autodesk and have them use this data to improve the products moving forwards.
Autodesk Labs can be found here Labs Link and the Labs Blog can be found here Labs Blog Link A very nice man called Scott Sheppard looks after this side of things, I have conversed with him a couple of times through the forums and via e-mail about my favorite tool, he even turned it back on in Inventor 2017 for me because I missed it so much.
This is why I love the Labs, anything can happen, so go play with the new toys and get involved in the future of your software. I highly recommend becoming an active part of the Autodesk Labs community, get behind the projects you like, but also adding your voice to the projects you don’t. At this stage every idea can be edited to create the next big thing. The future of our software is in our hands, lets not waste these opportunities.