Just a collection of my thoughts or links to other thoughts on architecture and design.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

ShowCase: Augmented Ecologies

From Archinect: This is cool.

ShowCase is a new feature on Archinect, presenting exciting new work from designers representing all creative fields and all geographies. We are accepting nominations for upcoming ShowCase features - if you would like to suggest a project, please send us a message.

The integration of biological and technological systems in the design of an interactive human interface is explored through an installation where plants rigged up with sensors provide a kinesthetic user experience based on movement, touch, sound and light. Human interaction with the system affects an algorithmic projection and soundscape. //Augmented Ecologies BIOLOGICAL + TECHNOLOGICAL The project explores the integration of biological and technological systems in the development of an interactive human interface. This notion is investigated through the design and construction of an interactive installation where user interactions with hybrid systems affect the light and sound-scape of the installation space. The design is suggestive of an information rich, technologically augmented landscape. Kinesthetic user/landscape relationships are forged within a mediated spatiality of light and sound. Design of an interactive installation driven by physical and virtual parametres requires the development of both hardware and software. Various tools were used to develop the necessary components and code. The principal soft/hardware used for the installation was Cycling '74 MAX.MSP/4.6 Jitter 1.6, and the Arduino Diecimila microcontroller. Both the software and hardware tools were selected for their availability, low cost, versatility and their associated, online open source communities, an indispensable source of information. image

//Software Development MAX.MSP + JITTER + FLOCKING Max/Msp is a graphical programming environment which lets the user develop software through the use of a library of visual objects which can be connected together. Jitter is an extended library of objects specifically for the development of video and 3d graphics. The software has been used extensively in interactive installations, musical performance and film. The software was used to explore notions of group behaviour within virtual, algorhytmically driven ecologies. An emergent behaviour, flocking was first simulated using a computer in 1986 by Creg Reynolds. Simple rules govern the virtual flock; separation, alignment and cohesion. These rules, assigned to every individual member of the flock, result in extremely complex behaviour which simulates swarming/flocking in a realistic way. Simple software developed within the max/msp environment which simulates these types of behaviours is freely available to experiment with. Various patches were explored, through use and modification, including both simpler, 2-dimensional and more complex 3-dimensional flocks. image

The installation is suggestive of a biotechnological landscape inhabited through kinesthetic relationships.


//Hardware Development ARDUINO + SENSORS Arduino is a physical computing platform based on a simple input/output board and a software development environment based on the Processing/Wiring language. This microcontroller board is a low cost, versatile tool that allows users to develop stand alone interactive projects as well as connecting to various software packages running on a computer. Complementary components are available to extend the board's functionality and applications. The particular model used in this project is the Arduino Diecimila which provides 14 input/output connections, 6 offering pulse-width modulation and 6 analog inputs. This allows reasonable number of sensors to be connected to the board. The data is then transmitted and interpreted within max/msp. Individual components and circuits for the installation are developed using low cost, easily available components, purchased, or hacked from common electronic appliances. image

Light Sensor Kinesthetic Interaction:
Controlling the amount of light reaching the sensors affects the colour space of the projection. 2 sets of 3 sensors each control the RGB values and can be used in various combinations to mix colors.


Sonic Plants:
When stroked, these technologically augmented plants talk back with musical feedback.


Touch Sensitive Moss Pads:
A gentle tap triggers attraction points on screen affecting the co-ordinates of the virtual flock projected in the space.


Learning the System:
Through a process of exploration, discovery and refinement of their own kinesthetic relationships with the system, users step beyond the interface into the light and sound-scapes they create.


120second Interaction:
2 virtual flocks interact within 3d space to define the light-scape of the installation space via a projection. The aesthetic is a result of the triangulation of the co-ordinates of each entity in the flock and ghosting of the video output.


45second Interaction


Biotechnological systems are deployed in the context of a previous project:
A modular landscape that creates the potential for the establishment of diverse ecologies by collecting, storing and redirecting surface water. Both projects bring into question our perceptions of what is "natural" and how we relate to landscape within urban territories.

//Applications AUGMENTED LANDSCAPES The deployment of biotechnological interfaces to mediate habitation of outdoor urban spaces is explored conceptually within the context of my thesis project situated on the Chatham Waterfront, Medway, UK. In this project spatial and ecological conditions emerge from the deployment of a modular surface that responds to the surrounding context in it's variations of modular density, scale and intensity of folding. The surface is deployed so that the directionality of the modules attenuates surface flow (flood waters, precipitation, surface flow from the city) allowing diverse microhabitats to emerge between the modules. In time the landscape will gradually be populated by local species according to varying soil conditions created by the surface. Once populated biotechnological interfaces can be deployed on a large scale to transform the landscape into a vast kinesthetic garden. Habitation of the landscape is based on one's own movement and tactile relationships with the space. Pressure sensitive turfed areas respond to footsteps, long grasses chime to be stroked, artificial scents are diffused through the air at the tap of a leaf whilst vast arrays of LED's change colour in response to your movement.


Guido Maciocci Guido Maciocci has recently completed his architectural studies at the Canterbury School of Architecture at the University for the Creative Arts in the United Kingdom. As part of his studies Maciocci completed a research project in 2008 for which he was awarded the Prize for Design Based Research by artLAB, an architectural firm based in Kent, UK. Maciocci's designs operate on macro and micro scales, between the physical and the virtual, as a form of mediated landscape urbanism questioning our notions of the "natural" and how we inhabit the diminishing outdoor spaces within sprawling urbanity.


1 comment:

gMacArchitect said...

thanx a lot for the post!
I'll be pursuing these notions further during my MA course starting in september, and the next installment will be just as interesting! :)