AA Make Lab at Hooke Park

http://www.youtube.com/michagrau#p/c/141BFDA6E35DF197/3/qUnumytQH8c

The videos are from the workshop I attended in April. This particular video shows Michael Grau’s robot, which basically draws the intersection points along a wooden member as slashes in the right or left direction and writes a code consisting of a number and a letter, so later on when it came down to putting the structure together we knew exactly where and what direction to put the wooden members in. Time was running out so we used cable ties for both constructions. The final structure is a very organic form.

The  second construction was created by studying people and their movements on the site at Hooke park, the movements were  3d scanned using a hacked Kinect Xbox (acted as a motion sensor), then points were generated in Rhino to form a point cloud model. The points were joined together with lines forming a voronoi (a volume,form). We then used a robot which took the coordinates of each member from the computer and translated these to the space in the forest, it moved within the perimeter of the site and told us where to position each wooden member, so we cut the wood as we went along and connected each member with  an eyehook and a cable tie. Sometimes additional support was required that the computer did not account for, so we just added these. Also in the organic form the material used was not flexible enough to create the rounded shapes, as a result the structure kept breaking in sections and we had to add additional supports.

If we had more time it would have been ideal to test different types of material.

Re-connecting Urbanites with their Food / Nature

The Fin’s Labyrinth is a project by Stewart HICKS and Allison NEWMEYER from Design with Company which just won Suckerpunchdaily‘s competition to imagine a Center for Urban Farming.

This theoretical project titled “Fin’s Labyrinth” encourages inhabitants of a city to “play with their food”. According to the authors, it acts “both as working fish farm and a new form of public (civic) amenity. It uses the infrastructure for raising fish as a backdrop to a wide range of activities designed to entertain you while getting you acquainted with your next meal. It reintroduces the production of food into the daily lives of city dwellers, making a more concrete connection between what we put in our mouths and the environment required to generate it.”

A few months ago, Mark Zuckerberg, the famous co-founder of Facebook declared that he will “only eat meat that he killed.”  He justified this personal challenge by saying “I think many people forget that a living being has to die for you to eat meat […] so my goal revolves around not letting myself forget that and being thankful for what I have.” Under the tutelage of a chef, Zuckerberg visits local farms and cut the throat of animals with a knife, which is “the most kind way to do it”.

The Fin’s labyrinth and Zuckerberg’s latest “challenge” reveals a growing discomfort for what cannot be seen in the city while being inherent to its functioning: An intense violence was necessary to kill the animal yet one can buy its pieces packaged from the supermarket just like cereals. This imbalance could be solved in myriads of Architectural proposals. One could imagine a supermarket where you can hunt for food, with forests entering the white cold aisles. Who knows, maybe this might help reducing crime by helping people release their inner violence hence killing two bird with one stone. [:)] 

Toby and I would like to encourage these “closed-loop” or “self-reliant” systems where very little is needed from the outside to make the program work…

Below are several projects from Design with Company on this topic:

The Fin’s Labyrinth

Farmland World

Printing Food

Fast Company has published an article on printing food which talks about the Cornell Machines Lab‘s work and more specifically Jeffrey Lipton‘s group.  The latter looks at how Solid Free Form Technology (SFF) will “fundamentally change the ways we produce and experience food”. They have published a paper called “Hydrocolloid Printing: A Novel Platform for Customized Food Production” explaining the main advantages of this technique which are mainly artistic, allowing experimental Chefs to create new dishes which could not have been done before. Laypeople could print these new creations from home too.

CNN Money‘s website shows one of these machines used by the French Culinary Institute.

The Printing Food Project is part of larger group, the Fab@Home which aims to make 3D printers and other new fabrication technology affordable to everyone.

The Printer with two different eatable ink

A printer in action as shown on the CNN video at the French Culinary Institute

The Lotus Effect

Very interesting video showing how a lotus leaf reacts to liquid. Notice how even honey slides off the leaf like water.  Research is being done on material with a Lotus-like property, also known as superhydrophobicity.

 
 

Below is an image from a scientific paper published in 2008 titled Laser structuring of water-repellent biomimetic surfaces and fully available here. The image shows a comparison between the microscopic texture of a leaf and a surface shaped with a laser.  The artificial lotus shows very similar behaviour (and appearance) to the real leaf. A group in Germany called “Lotus-Effect” is also working on the reproducing the magic and has published great documentaries on their website.

Stunning Photographs of Burning Man 2011

Scott London, a journalist from California has published on his blog some nice images of Burning Man 2011. Thank you to Rodrigo Medina Garcia, author of DesignPlaygrounds.com  for the link.

Scott’s images are here :http://www.scottlondon.com/photo/burningman2011/ 

Check the pictures until the last one and an interesting description of the event by the journalist will appear: ” It’s no exaggeration to say the Burning Man festival is one of the world’s hippest and most mind-blowing gatherings. It’s not quite an art festival, not quite a desert rave, and not quite a social experiment, but something of all three. Held each summer in the remote Black Rock Desert of northern Nevada, it’s a week-long celebration of free-form creativity and radical self-expression.

Burning Man takes place in a temporary “city” some five miles wide that rises out of the open desert toward summer’s end only to vanish again after the event is over. For a few brief days, the ephemeral metropolis known as Black Rock City ranks among the largest communities in the state of Nevada.”

 

Social Forces, Literally !

Nathan Miller, creator of Slingshot has used Kangaroo and his own plugin on Grasshopper to import his Facebook friends as a  network of lines and applied different physical forces between them depending on the level of connectivity between friends.

Interesting way to start designing a building?

Video Below:

More Information on Nathan’s blog The Proving Ground.

Martian Landscape

Stunning images of the Martian Landscape taken by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter since 2006. Thank you to Subtilitas for pointing it out and for The Big Picture for posting them.

Part of the Abalos Undae dune field. The sands appear blueish because of their basaltic composition, while the lighter areas are probably covered in dust. More, or see location on Google Mars. (NASA/JPL/University of Arizona) 

Scalloped sand dunes in the southern hemisphere of mars, displaying seasonal frost on the south-facing slopes, which highlights some of the regular patterns, as the frost forms only on parts of the ripples. More, or see location on Google Mars. (NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)