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:

Plastic Inflatables DYI Links

Some useful links for making plastic inflatables:

Antfarm — Inflatocookbook (1973)

Plastic Welding:

Some Instructables projects:




Hyperinflate – Inflation Simulation


First simulation of the inflation form with random fixed vertices. Face color defined by the distance of the inflating face centroid from the original centroid position. Hoping to use some development of this for the fabrication workshop later this summer. Built off the toxiclibs physics library in Processing, and this sketch in particular. Unfolded using Pepakura.

(Inhabitable) Bubbles

Inspired by this recent radiolab episode on bubbles, in particular, David Stein’s “big bubble thing” apparatus. This gets me thinking about the form that the BDW pavilion might take, these could prove useful inspiration. The idea of bubbles inside of bubbles is one direction worth exploring. Mostly just fun, with my friend Nick Hanna’s amazing bubble machine kicking it off:

As well as some impressive bubble artistry:

and this guy…