Meet Erin Bradner -
Erin Bradner

Erin Bradner

Director, Robotics Lab Autodesk Inc.


Erin Bradner is a Director at Autodesk Research, specializing in intelligent and intuitive design technology for architects and engineers. She has a B.S. in Cognitive Science and a Ph.D. in Information & Computer Science. Her dissertation work focused on technology affordances.

Erin joined Autodesk in 2002 as a user researcher, conducting hundreds of user research sessions to identify the sweet spot where technology feasibility, viability, and desirability meet. She was on the founding team for generative design at Autodesk.

In terms of customer pilots, Erin led Autodesk’s partnership with Lawrence Livermore National Labs and was part of a team that helped NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab reduce the weight of a lander, proposed for a mission to Europa – a moon of Jupiter. The generative design was used to create an optimized geometry of all the lander’s structural parts, reducing overall weight by over a third.

Erin has also conducted numerous software ethnographies. She’s observed Architects design skyscrapers from 3D virtual studios, observed children program gravity engines with the XBOX in their living rooms, and observed aeronautical engineers design emergency landings for the space shuttle. As an ethnographer, she uses inductive reasoning to extract patterns of interaction and to develop predictive models of behavior.

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