Artificial muscles could make soft robots safer and stronger. Researchers at the Wyss Institute, Harvard SEAS, and MIT CSAIL have developed a novel design approach for origami-inspired artificial muscles, capable of lifting 1000x its own weight.
The muscles are made of a compressible skeleton and air or fluid medium encased in a flexible skin, and are powered by pressure difference. The muscle motions are programmed based on the structural geometry of the skeleton. Multi-directional motions can also be programmed into the material. Artificial muscles can also grip, lift, and twist objects.
A variety of materials and fabrication methods can be used to create low-cost artificial muscles. These artificial muscles are fast, light-weight, and powerful, and could be used for miniature medical devices, deployable structures, or wearable robotics.
For more information, please visit: https://wyss.harvard.edu/artificial-muscles-give-soft-robots-superpowers/
(download Mac OSX Mavericks version)
In a time of prolific online surveillance, crackdowns on file-sharing, and a growing concern for the 3D printing of illegal items and copyright protected artefacts, DC is a free software application that helps people to circumvent these issues. Inspired by encryption rotor machines such as the infamous Enigma Machine, the application runs an algorithm that is used to both corrupt STL files into a visually-illegible state by glitching and rotating the 3D mesh, and to allow a recipient to reverse the effect to restore it back to its original form. The file recipient would need both the application and the unique seven digit settings used by the sender, entering the incorrect settings would only damage the file further.
Avena+ Test Bed explores the relationship between landscape, agriculture and digital fabrication.
With the advent of Precision Farming, agriculture has become fully mapped and will transform farming to a highly digital activity. This in combination with other changes underway in the countryside, mainly the paradigm shift from food to biogas production and various EU subsidy schemes to promote diversity, will lead to disruptive changes within the next few years for the (European) countryside.
The project uses the idea of “Agricultural Printing” to explore the possibilities of digital fabrication carried over into farming. The experiment applies algorithms to partition and to create an environmentally beneficial structure into a standard biomass/energy production field. These additional areas establish, or improve, the connectivity for fauna and flora between habitats. This increased diversity also eases typical problems of monocultures e.g. less vermin → reduced usage of pesticides. Furthermore a farmer could “rent out” the areas for several months a year as compensatory area in the same fashion like the CO2 emissions trading scheme works (in the EU every new land for building has to be compensated). Hence in the near future a farmer might not just produce oats, peas, beans and barley, but also print “environment compensations areas” into his fields.
The overall aim of the project is to look into the potential these changes (already underway), especially in terms of design opportunities. The emphasis lays in speculating about new models which would enhance current agricultural practices, and to then imagine their possible implications.
By the end of July 2013 the test bed will be harvested to produce biogas.
85% oats (Avena Sativa)
15% eleven different flowers and herbs
11.5 hectares (320 m x 920 m) in Unterwaldhausen, South Germany
The Bartlett AD – RESEARCH CLUSTER 4 – 2014
Gilles Retsin + Manuel Jimenez Garcia w. Vicente Soler
Team MICROSTRATA: Wonil Son, Fame Boonyasit, Maho Akita, Syazwan Rusdi
GAD – RC4 / Computational design methodologies for large-scale 3D printing
Designer and architect Neri Oxman is leading the search for ways in which digital fabrication technologies can interact with the biological world. Working at the intersection of computational design, additive manufacturing, materials engineering and synthetic biology, her lab is pioneering a new age of symbiosis between microorganisms, our bodies, our products and even our buildings.
The Creators Project follows Israeli artist Eyal Gever on his mission to create a sculpture in space. We see how Gever and his team, in collaboration with a special project team at NASA, explore what it means to be human through zero gravity and 3D computer technology. We get an inside look at the complications the artist and scientists face in selecting an everlasting subject and how to create the actual artwork in space. It’s a most ambitious endeavor for mankind. Gever lands on the importance and delight of human laughter and figures out how to make sound sculptures to launch into space.
Modern buildings with floor-to-ceiling windows give spectacular views, but they require a lot of energy to cool. Doris Kim Sung works with thermo-bimetals, smart materials that act more like human skin, dynamically and responsively, and can shade a room from sun and self-ventilate.
Announcing Generator.x 3.0: From Code to Atoms, a workshop and exhibition focusing on digital fabrication and generative systems. This event is an evolution of Generator.x 2.0: Beyond the Screen, which took place in Berlin during Club Transmediale 2008. Generator.x 3.0 is produced by iMAL in collaboration with Marius Watz.
Context: Digital fabrication drastically changes manufacturing by democratizing access to industrial tools as well as changing the way objects are produced, opening the door for the on-demand creation of bespoke objects. Combined with the “craft” of code it becomes possible to directly connect parametric software processes to an instant manufacturing workflow, turning bits into atoms and introducing a paradigm that is radically different from traditional 3D modeling.
Generative systems shift the focus from static models towards a computational logic – what Bruce Sterling calls processuality. Here objects are understood as mere instances of a family of forms, produced by a specific interaction of parameters. Such forms may be data-driven or created through interactive means, adapting to conditions coded into the system. The artist becomes a “gardener” of possible forms, harvesting desirable results in an iterative process of coding and prototyping.
about the >>> research process (archive)
30 blog entries about the whole research process were published between February and March 2014.
i explored the behaviour of a 3D printer and its filament (developing my own software in the process) to create a new kind of sculpture, native to the medium.
1. surfaces can be continuous or chaotic
2. lines can be rigid or organic
3. filament can be closely controlled or let free to find its own form
1. “strings and blobs”
2. letting filament pile up on itself
3. under-constrained wall-building
4. natural collapse
series of sculptures are discovered by exploring the parameter space of a base model
In a dish of water in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a new kind of robot stirs, its tentacles twitching. Squashy and soft, this robot is different from its technological ancestors – Octobot runs without a power cable or rigid electronics, moving autonomously – if still clumsily – through the world.
Polystyrene is traditionally characterized by high stiffness, tensile strength, and low weight, making it advantageous for many industrial applications. I have programmed polystyrene to transform autonomously by printing active material on fully cured flexible polystyrene and applying heat as an activator. In each, a single piece of plastic transforms its shape to create aerodynamic advantage and tunable performance. Contrary to traditional mechanical activation, this method requires no complex electronics, sensors, or actuators; it decreases the total weight and minimizes failure-prone mechanisms.
Flat sheets of custom printed polystyrene can be designed to self-transform in controlled and unique ways. While I used light as
a medium for activation, I imagine that I can also create polystyrene composites that radically adapt to extreme environmental conditions.