Octopus Pavilion is LIVE

After over two months of work, and so much help from Nicholas, Amanda, the crew at K1ND, Yanglei, Sheng Qiang, and his students at Beijing Jiaotong University, and of course Bea, Evelyn and the rest of the team at Beijing Design Week, the Octopus Pavilion has finally come fully to life! Opening party on September 24th was a big hit. Thanks all for the incredible work, perseverance, and support from everyone involved!!

On Site

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The fabric officially moved onto site this afternoon. One team remains in the studio working on the assembly, while a second team has moved to the site to start installing the fabric cells. Things are moving fast now, though sadly we won’t get the canopy finished before Nicholas leaves tomorrow morning. He will be there in spirit for sure when it finally lifts off the ground and comes to life. Nicholas thanks so much for all your hard work, this project would never have been possible without you!

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Final Prototypes + Tests

Testing the final fan characteristics, pillow shape and size, pillow connection details, LED’s. Pillows and electronics have been sent off for fabrication. We should receive these components by Monday and/or Tuesday. Sadly we were not able to find a suitable fan that could be run in both directions, so we will only have inflation (with at 12v 1a fan), unless we can find a reasonable way to rig up two fans in the pillow. Tests so far indicate that two fans is too much weight.

Structure elements are purchased and on site. Still need to figure out the carriage design. Will start using the controller prototype to start testing the software this weekend. Final installation fast approaching!

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Overall Design Progress

The latest visualizations and drawings of the project, closing in on a final design. Prepared for use during a presentation to the residents tomorrow morning. Work continues on the overall structure, connection details, the fan+controller carriage, and software. Controllers are being fabricated now by our partner, K1ND. One more day of planning and final design, cell fabrication will start in full on Tuesday.

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Octopus Pavilion Progress – 20160908

Opening in 13 Days

On Site in 6 Days

More work on the simulation and overall layout. Received new, more powerful fans. Honing in on the final schematics for the controllers. Bought waterproof fabric and elastics. Testing tiling patterns. A few images and animation from the past 2 days:

 

Octopus Pavilion Progress – 20160906

Opening in 15 Days

On Site in 8 Days

Much progress over the weekend. Full scale mock up of a 2m x 2m pillow with electronics installed, including fans, LED’s and sensors. Good tests during the day and night. We still need more power in our fans, and there are many sensitivity issues with the sensor that we are working through. The interactive company we are working with will provide a final prototype by the end of the week. Grasshopper simulation was made more usable thanks to the help of Casey and Han at MAD.

For the next few days, while we wait for the final prototype, we will focus on the overall design, including cell shape and size, overall shape in the site, carriage design, structure, and rain-screen, both in digital simulation and physical prototypes.

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Octopus Pavilion Progress – 20160831

Opening in 22 Days

On Site in 15 Days

New simulation animation in site. Much to do.

This weekend workshop we will:

  • Get full prototype working with four pillows (need to buy additional electronics)
  • Test new fans and different pillow sizes
  • Work on shape and structure in simulation
  • Produce high quality renders, plans and sections

Octopus Pavilion Progress – 20160826

27 Days to go

Here are some videos of the physics simulation we are setting up in grasshopper to test the design and interactivity, using the kangaroo2 physics library:

Also some progress on the prototype. Working with a nice nylon type fabric, with sowing:

Soft Interface

The interactive aspect of the pavilion has focused around the idea of “soft interface.” We consider this to be a key component of the soft city in general, and will use the pavilion as a chance to try to better define what it means for an interface to be soft. Preliminary schematics for this include the adaptability, plasticity, self-learning, tactility, embeddedness of an interface within a system. Considerations for the soft interface prototype in the pavilion could address sound, sight, text, or touch.

Prof. Sean Ahlquist at the University of Michigan is working on some very relevant research to this idea of soft interface, including his recent project “Social Sensory Surfaces” which:

looks to develop new material technologies as tactile interfaces designed to confront critical challenges of learning and social engagement for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)…The project connects expertise and technology in textile structures and CNC knitting, programming of gestural and tactile input devices, and design of haptic and visual interfaces for enhanced musical expression. With textiles, the tactile interface is expanded in scale, from wearables to environments and varied in types of input for human-computer interactions. The textiles are tailored for gradations of touch and pressure sensitive input from large sweeping gestures to fine touch, calibrated to prompt a wide variety of response.

In considering how to implement a tactile system such as this as part of the inflatable system, we are considering two possibilities. The first would be to use barometric pressure sensors inside the inflatable to sense if a given inflatable has been squeezed. Though potentially quite simple to implement, obvious disadvantage of this approach is very low resolution (1 pixel!) and would require the  use of relatively small inflatable pillows. A second approach, which seems to pick up on the approach described in Prof. Ahlquist’s project, would be to employ stretch sensors integrated into the inflatable fabric to register pressing touch across a surface. Conductive rubber cord (from Adafruit) organized in a grid) is one relatively cheap system to achieve this. Here is a link from taobao.

And some more links for soft circuitry and other sensitive fabrics: