Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory used generative design to develop a drone. By entering in qualifiers and measurements, CAD software generated all the possibilities that matched the desired objectives. An engineer can then select the best design or modify a generative design for the application.
Generative design often provides a 3D-printed solution, or one that may not be designed optimally for traditional manufacturing. However, with the rise of 3D printing speeds and materials, while the cost is being reduced, generative design can help amplify an engineer’s knowledge like FEA did for designs so many years ago. This technology reduces materials and weight, and amplifies the power of the engineer.
APL now has a makerspace-like program where anyone can use the tools and materials for non-laboratory projects. While this has led to things like custom sunglasses for a wedding, it has also expanded projects that aren’t able to be share outside the lab to passion projects that can be shared publicly, so others can enjoy the success of technology.