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.
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
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:
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:
Some pictures of the first prototype of the octopus pavilion. Thanks to Nicholas for all the sowing! Inflated in the IFP courtyard.
The Soft City Platform will be part of the 2016 Beijing Design Week in the historic Baitasi (White Stupa Temple) neighborhood of Beijing. The platform will include the installation of the octopus pavilion, an inflatable structure incorporated into an existing Hutong courtyard. This pavilion will host a series of events, including the Soft City forum, with interdisciplinary panels discussing how the increasing integration of technology, ecology, economies, and politics are changing the way we think about and design in and through the city.