Below is my final research document for my New Frameworks in Design class taught by Paul Nakazawa. This was a relatively free-form professional practice class aimed at exploring new areas at the edges of practice. My project involved a series of interviews with a wide array of practitioners dealing with new areas in digital and/or computational design. I packaged them into a series of questions or issues to create somewhat of architectural layperson's guide to the current relevant issues in computational practice.
And with this, I am free to... work on my thesis.
My CAD/CAM final project (done in a team with Daniel Elmore and Frances Haugen) was an experiment in curved folding in plastic. We used curved origami (a really complex and interesting field) as a method to make flat-pack "bricks" that could have variable openings and be assembled in a relatively simple fashion with hidden fasteners (we ended up using brads.) The curved folds give the bricks stiffness and form. We used laser-cut 1/32" translucent polypropylene. The material is strong, cheap, and forms a incredibly durable "living hinge" when scored. The form and cutfiles were generated using Rhino, with the help of Grasshopper and some C#.
Looking at it now I really want to combine it with the electronics work I've been doing in Augmented - the plastic is an awesome light diffuser and this would be an easy way to make a 5'x8' led pixel display...
I also have another applet that I created for my Augmented Environments class that demos a lighting effect we're trying to recreate physically with a grid of LEDs - I'll be updating here frequently if we happen to get the grant we applied for to realize the project. In the meantime, you can click on a screen.
I've got another post coming up soon with my final CAD/CAM project, and even more in the future with thesis ideas - now that the semester is over I need something to keep me busy.
If you are at all interested in the world of computational design, please please read this blog post by Daniel Davis on his blog, Digital Morphogenesis. It is a great survey of blind spots and false assumptions within the CD community, told through a minibiography of William Mitchell.
I'll also be posting in a week or so a short interview with Daniel, alongside a lot of other academics and practitioners, discussing workflow and intellectual property issues in digital architectural practice.
Presented my final project for CS50 (basically Programming 101) at the "CS50 Fair" last Friday. I got quite a good response - some people actually brought their friends back to look at it a second time. There weren't a lot of games at the fair (Harvard undergrads seem to be a very pragmatic lot), so it probably seemed fun by comparison.
My project involved attempting to use a rudimentary optical flow algorithm as the main control for an interface. I chose a game as, well, it's more fun to talk about than anything else. I chose to re-imagine the old "Missile Defense" Atari 2600 cartridge, although in retrospect something less violent probably would have had broader appeal. Optical flow is a kind of machine vision that looks at implied motion in a video image - basically, wave your arms or hands and the game responds. I built the game in Processing, an open-source visualization language that I can't say enough good things about.
If you want to play (and have a computer with a webcam), it's hosted here as a Java app. Since it's self-signed you'll have to tell Java that it's save to run by clicking "no" on the popup that appears. If you have a PC you'll probably have to have VDIG 1.0.1 installed to give it access to your webcam.
The best (and also most embarassing) moment at the fair was when I spent about 10 minutes presenting to three or four people whom I assumed were parents or professors. Afterwards I had someone come by and ask me what it was like presenting my project to Drew Faust. Oh, well.