Shape Changing Furniture
Transform was supposed to echo the concept of Amazing in Motion, a core message for Lexus International, the collaborator on this project, by fusing technology and design to celebrate its transformation from a piece of still material to a dynamic machine. In parallel with Lexus philosophy of intriguing elegance through careful juxtaposition of opposing elements, the aim of Transform was to inspire viewers though its unexpected transformations and aesthetics of a complex machine in motion.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Transform fuses technology and design to celebrate the transformation from a piece of static furniture to a dynamic machine driven by streams of data and energy. The furniture is comprised of three dynamic shape displays that move over one thousand pins up and down in real-time to reshape the tabletop into a dynamic, tangible display. The kinetic energy of the viewers, captured by sensors, drives the wave motion represented by the dynamic pins.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
We implemented three application modes: Escher, Wave, and Machine.
1. Escher mode interacts with inert passive materials, red balls, to demonstrate the inter-material interactions in an artistic mode of dance.
2. Wave mode allows users to interact through the motion of the hand/arm/body to energize the water.
3. Machine mode is a pre-scripted mode that tells the story of Nature and Machine.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
The project started November 2013 in Cambridge, MA, USA at the MIT Media Lab and was exhibited in April 2014 in Milano, Italy.
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
The design challenge was to strike a balance between two very different requirements: technical constraints to house the engines composed of 1,152 actuated pins and motors, and communication of the high level concepts of the collision and fusion of design and technology through unique aesthetics. The final Transform construction was made from a laminated and painted MDF structure, aluminum base and external supports, and a corian top. Transform is a modular construction that can be easily assembled and disassembled.
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
Transform is a platform based on actuator modules with 2 X 12 styrene pins on an area of 305 X 50.8 mm, which extend up to 100 mm from the surface. Three shape displays, 16 x 24 pins each, cover an area of 406.4 x 610 mm. This uses a total of 1152 actuated pins.
Tangible User Interfaces, Radical Atoms, Shape Display, Shape Changing, Design, Interactive
Radical Atoms, is the vision of human interaction with dynamic, computationally reconfigurable and transformable shape-changing materials. Hypothetically, these materials can reflect dynamic changes in digital information through a dynamic change in physical state. Transform embodies this vision through a new type of dynamic physical and computational material. Transform was created to challenge the conventional notion of static furniture design, thus freeing designers from frozen passive materials to give dynamic form to their ideas.
Furniture design typically focuses on the aesthetics of the surfaces of still objects. In contrast, dynamic engines possess a beauty in the movement of the machine, which may not be compatible with the beauty of still objects. For Transform, the three shape-changing engines were integrated into a table without covering any of the components to reveal the moving parts of the machine. The goal was to create tension and contrast by juxtaposing the visible pistons and wiring, which represent the machine's blood vessels.
TEAM MEMBERS (5) :
Hiroshi Ishii, Daniel Leithinger, Sean Follmer, Amit Zoran and Philipp Schoessler
Hiroshi Ishii, 2014.