A specialized design laboratory to examine responsive architectural envelopes. A design method based on cycles of accretion and synthesis was used culminating in a collective gallery installation. The work focuses on four key design products: lightweight structural scaffolds, functional devices providing environmental exchanges populating the structure; kinetic mechanisms that integrate physical movement within the system, and integrated control systems employing microprocessors, sensors and actuators. These elements were developed in pursuit of innovative responsive qualities that include basic life support functions, emotive and iconographic qualities for architecture.
The design development method for this studio involved iterative cycles of visualization and drawing, modeling and simulation, prototyping, integration within systems, and performance testing. Mechatronics and behavior coding were included as enabling technologies. Physical fabrication was fundamental, both as a design strategy employing individual experimental prototypes, and as a production and presentation approach. The sequence of development moved from individual exploration and development of components toward collaborative refinement in evolving cycles. A common scaffold system was developed that reconciles individual approaches.
The Fin Ray Tentacle
The FinRay, also nicknamed the "Ninja Tentacle" was my device designed for the Epithelium Studio installation, in collaboration with Shawn Sims.
The mechanism was influenced by the Festo Airjelly. Driven by an arduino, a servo and fitted with a proximity sensor, this organism is able to interact with users. The user can push, pull, receive an affectionate touch or even spook the tentacle by moving the hand through specific ranges and speeds.
Architect Magazine November 2008
Epithelium images courtesy of photographer Mark Mahaney