Archive for October, 2009

Moon Chair

October 21, 2009

This is a project for 4.510: Materializing Design by Prof. Larry Sass. I wam supposed to design a chair and run through the rapid prototyping process. My chair was part of a sphere, so it can rock/spin in any direction. The size was limited to one plywood sheet (8’x4′).

I was quite annoyed by the fact that our CNC cutter in the woodshop cannot perform 3D contouring (due to budget cut on software… errr). But I had a lot of fun playing with wood joints. The spine was cut into four segments so the plywood sheet could be used more efficiently. This main joint (#1×3) cost us more than 5 hours to put together. It was very strong. Slightly improved, I believe it can be used in larger scale wood structures.

The plywood sheet we had could be the worst material anyone would expect. It was brittle and cracked under CNC bits. I did realize that my design was not the best for this material in terms of reliability; luckily it worked out in the end (even for Larry) and looked pretty good.

I look forward to an opportunity sometime that I can combine 3d cutting, bending and all other possibilities in wood works. It can be really amazing.

Tools used: CATIA, AutoCAD

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The Copenhagen Wheel: Data Viz Journal I

October 9, 2009

The goal of the Copenhagen Wheel project is to create a smart, responsive and elegant emblem for urban mobility. It transforms ordinary bicycles quickly into hybrid e-bikes that also function as mobile sensing units. It allows you to capture the energy dissipated while cycling and braking and save it for when you need a bit of a boost. It also connect your bike to a larger community through smartphone to map pollution levels, traffic congestion, and road conditions in real-time.

I was recruited to visualize the data collected into interactive graphics. In the first review I set myself 3 goals: i) visual impact; ii) insightful interpretation; iii) support for easy reading & decision making.
Embedding sensors in bicycle wheels has obvious advantages that make the visualization interesting, such as mobility and realtime networking. However in current phase of the project, we had no prototypes finished, and could only expect around 15 sensors sent out before the final presentation. That data is too sparse on a city of 4 square km. Moreover, since we have loose control of where the riders go, it is almost impossible to get a filled map at a random time spot.

My first solution was what I called ‘merged time’: users saw data from different time on a merged map, but could also tell which are old and which are new. Data left a fading trace after them. Here is the first demonstration video I made for the concept.

the Symbolic, the Visual, the Recursive

October 7, 2009

This is an assignment from 4.580:Inquiry into Computation and Design by Prof. Terry Knight. We were supposed to parse a design into rules that could be passed on and used to regenerate it.

We took Le Corbusier’s plan of Maison Citrohan (1927). It was crucial to which detail one chose to represent the design. We realized that by just extracting out elements from the plans, shape grammar would be very symbolic and become a shopping catalog. The recursive function and flexibility was a must in order to develop a true design tool. We ended up with a Corb automator with recursive functions but also one symbolic architecture element introduced (the stair).

In class discussion it was left an open question whether the nature of architecture is symbolic, but it seemed unlikely that limited rules can describe everything in design.

Collaborator: Joseph Choma, Siobhan Rockcastle
Tools used: Processing