Yesterday, AutoDesk goes and launches the Sketchbook Mobile iPhone App. Today? Cloud city, baby. AutoDesk has cranked up the bandwidth on the West Coast to allow the ability to run trial version of certain AutoDesk software via their servers.

The only problem? You have to be within a specific geographical area. Looks to be within a 1000 mile radius of the Lab in San Fransisco. So, if you’re floating in the Pacific off the coast, have fun. If you’re in Idaho, get back to the potato fields. Here’s a little more info.

CAD Software as a Service

So far, this is the first a product development company has done more than talk about serving up CAD apps from the silver-lined ‘Cloud’ we all idealize as simplifying our computing. For good reason too. It’s limited to proximity from the cloud servers. But look, that first step has been made and AutoDesk stuck their leg clear through the door everyone wants to open.

They’re calling it Project Twitch. Hopefully that’s a name for the anticipation about this tech and not a description about data latency as information is delivered from the lair of the AutoDesk Labs.

The goal of project Twitch is to enable you to test and try the latest versions of AutoCAD, Revit, Inventor, and Maya without having to install or download the applications.

Scott Shepherd has more on it at Alive in the Labs

Autodesk Labs team members Eddy Kuo and Frederic Loranger have been hard at work creating an environment where you can run trial versions of AutoCAD, Inventor, and Revit on remote servers…To try our design applications, you will need to download and install a small client application that is much smaller than our design applications.

Do You Want App Access via the Cloud?

There would be some benefits. You get rid of big downloads, major installations and maintenance. You can use them from anywhere… anywhere with web access. Plus, you rely on another person’s server, data, security and support. Advantages and disadvantages, huh. Which do you prefer?

Update: Also check out Kenneth Wong’s Twitch coverage here. He’s in the San Francisco Bay area and has results and more info from his attempt at using CAD in the Cloud.


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.