Digital Sketches

This is yet another rendition of taking a simple curve and shifting it in the z axis incrementally and then rotating by a small interval.

Then we scale various areas by a set increment. This allows the object to get out of cylinder land.

Oriented on a wall.
In hand.

I have been wondering if we make this curve the users submit a curve with say 20-25 control points, we can allow for a standard variation in that form for each piece. This would introduce a little more interest into the mix. Perhaps an variation between a couple of materials or thicknesses would also help.

In the neighborhood of our power source, I've been investigating how my rechargeable toothbrush works. It has no metal contacts but still charges fine. See link for info on the concept. We should investigate the possibility of that concept being used with a flat surface against a flat surface, rather than interlocking coils.

I'll add more to this post later.


Simple Operations pt. 2

Introducing a few new variables we might be able to create any type of form using the same parametric shape.
X = Distance Apart
Y = Incremental Rotation
S = Incremental Scale
T = thickness of material
N = Number of Plates
R = Scale Deviation

Our system allows the creation of a complicated 3D light fixture from a very simple polyline.

These lights are simple to create using standard 3D software but the average person is usually unable to access or understand this software and process.
But, the average user can draw a simple closed shape. This shape can then be transformed into a parametric object online. The user then has a series of sliders that shift the above variables.

While the form is created by an algorithm the user still has complete control over the final output. Once they find a light they are happy with they can purchase, which sends a command to a fabrication machine the cuts out the shapes of the light.

The interesting thing about this is sequence is that it could be staged that the only human hands that touch this product are the end users. The process required to make this light can all be done by a computer.


Possibility of Simple Operations

Building on the concept of the user quickly being able to generate their own design, I quickly built these forms. Each one simply uses the same shape x distance apart and then rotated y degrees from the last.


Meeting Notes_lighttouch

Chris and I met last night and feel we may have settled on an idea we can all agree on.
We'd like the light to appear very opaque until it is actually switched on. Comparing the interface to something like the touch wheel on an ipod where the evidence of moving parts is obscured. We are still utilizing the idea of take and go and a movable light source with various nodes throughout a space. In fact we may now suggest that the things on the walls and ceilings are nothing more than metal plates that these objects connect to magnetically, there may only need to be one charging station. The other option is to surround an existing fixture with a ring of metal so we can magnetically connect one of these form around it and just use the existing system for lighting. We'd like the very form of the light to be infinitely reconfigurable by the user. We also want to make the whole thing magnetic to allow for easy exchange/re/construction. Our proposal is to submit a system where customers can visit and online store and sketch out their form (here I've shown a simple cylinder), which is transferred into a high res digital fab file, this file is then sectioned up into 1/8" thick sections.

These sections are held 1/8" apart by very small neodymium magnets, the whole form is hollow and the Guts are sold as a separate package, depending on your lighting needs. Style is something that changes so rapidly (almost day to day in the online world) so this process allows our product to always meet the users idea of fashion. It can't become outdated because the very form can be updated on a whim. The fact that these lights are held together magnetically and built on a modular scale of 1/8" means they can be added on to or strung together very easily.
This idea also should tie in nicely with the recent burst of interest in DIY projects and hacking common place objects. Essentially what we've done is provide a framework to let our users imaginations run wild.

The lighting effect of this should be great, with 1/8" or thinner sections the object appears fairly solid, until the light is flipped on and the thing mysteriously glows.
I plan to make a prototype of this to see if it really works and what type of light it will cast off.

What do you think Sam?



LightTouch Boards_ Thumbnails

Here are some real quick thumbnails of how we discussed making the boards.
Feel free to change or add to.

Death by Architecture

Death by Arch is back online.
It's a pretty good clearinghouse for competitions, they display the competition by date to submit along with date to register.


El Museo Update

The el museo competition site has been updated with plans, elevations and a FAQ.

El Museo Precedents and Ideas

I'm very attacted to the look of demolished standard materials.

I like the idea of using nominal and standard sizes in a non-standard arrangement. I know this has been done before, but I think it might make an interesting facade if it looked like a construction in progress kinda exploded and then partially melted to the face of the building.
I think we should explore the idea of making a really sculptural space (this is for an art museum) out of materials that aren't sculptural, or aren't associated with sculpture.

Another interesting option may be to use recycled cardboard which would complement the look of the existing facade. We actually did a project back in school where we were forced to use recycled cardboard, which actually has a lot of properties that may be beneficial to what we are doing.

Take and Go Lighting

In keeping with our idea, I have been playing around with the design of a space that used a take and go lighting system. In the renderings you see a simple home with several nodes, some of these are fixture points, others are outlets. A user may only have one or two lights but carries these with them or moves them from point to point as necessary. This is similar to the idea of track lighting but should be more task and design oriented. We aren't simply thinking of lights as a functional piece of hardware but also as an aesthetic piece of the overall design.

I've also been toying with the idea that light you take with you could possibly be an attachment onto clothing. Either in the form of an insert of something that wrapped or attached to existing fashion. I also, have been wondering about a type of light that would be peel and stick, similar to wall stickers but made of OLEDs. See sketches:

I like the idea of some sort of tentacle like light that could either be stuck to the wall or wrapped/inserted into a piece of clothing. (especially a biking jacket, etc.) I like this idea of a parasite that is cultivated at home and then released into the wild when you leave the house.


Various Lighting Precedents

Random Thoughts:

I've been thinking about the light, there are some interesting dynamics to a light as an object. You can design the object, which is one level of the experience, but that object (the light) is also an emitter (it gives off light) which is an entirely different level of the design. Taking into account that this emission will interact with a space(the variable we have no control over as the designer of the object), we already have one form of an interactive loop. It's interesting the levels of design that a light requires as opposed to say a table.
I like the idea of above of arranging the object into a non-standard form, like our fish-bowl full of incandescent bulbs idea.

In keeping with the random metaphors this week, I was thinking that our idea is very similar to that of a firefly jar. In that we are capturing a small amount of light that we take with us and "play/interact" with for a finite amount of time. The parallel in real-life to our design would be like taking fireflies from the wild and cross breeding them in the jar before re releasing them back into the wild to influence the entire firefly colony(or swarm, or whatever a large group of fireflies is called)

More Competitions

In addition to the ElMuseo one:

Deadline May 1
I like this one because it is a pretty traditional competition, meaning a building with a site, and they are looking for something monumental.

Local Green Building Competition: Design a LEED Silver Residence. Deadline May 25

I'm throwing these out there because if we want to do a cool one we need to find out about it with enough time to do it. I'm looking for stuff with at least a two month deadline.

Also let's keep our eye on http://www.hatchfest.org/space/
and see if they do a competition this year again.

One other suggestion is to take on a couple more people and do a real competition, (i.e. something for the 2010 olympics, real buildings, etc.) It would be fun to compete with actual firms.

Then again maybe I'm just talking crazy....

Facade Competition

via archinect

Design a temp facade for this building.

Budget is 30,000
Looks pretty simple and fun, submission requirement is to submit the image they give you with facade in place.
Deadline is April 20
I say we do it. This reminds me a lot of the PS1 comp.
Competition Page


Idea # 6 or "TubeWorms in Space"

Idea # 6 or “Tubeworms in Space”

This idea uses some of the other proposals that we have already laid out, it’s more of an addition or additional product than a completely separate idea. The idea is to use a large amount of our magnetic “fixture plates” on a several walls and/or floors. These plates are then connected with these flexible light tubes, which can be rearranged very quickly. The tubing material needs to be some sort of flexible translucent conduit that can be molded to a shape and hold that shape, think the flexible French curves we used in school.

“Sidebar --- I wonder if a more interesting idea would be to use those fixtures as the light sources and the tubes just carry the light from one point to the other, like….tubes. This could mean we could chain some effects. I.e. one point of light starts at one fixture moves through the tube to the connected fixture, THEN it appears and another fixture giving the impression that we are not looking at several tubes connected on a wall but one very long one that circles through the space. --- end sidebar”

The magnetic plates could function not only as the outlet but as the switch for the whole system, (lets not forget the competition is called lightTOUCH) and by touching various plates we could influence the color and or movement of the light in our tube system.

-----branching thought warning!!---

In keeping with our ideas of a light that you could take and go (the one with the battery/capacitor in it) These tubes have the same function, if a point of light is moving through a tube when it is removed from the system, it becomes “trapped” aimlessly wandering in the separated tube until it is released into the system. Perhaps even that point of light can respond to touch input on the tube connections, so the light could be influenced in a separate tube and then when reintroduced to the system would influence or affect the entire system. This is similar to our ipod/light idea where positive viruses would corrupt and spread across the network of devices. Except in this system we do not have the problem of product adoption, as it’s a closed system within the home you buy the entire network not just a singular device.

So in short some of these ideas apply to what we were talking about last night and some don’t, I do dig the idea of the light that is removed being influenced or changed outside of being connected to the fixture.

Perhaps this would be a good point to include the notes from our meeting last week…

It sounds like we are reaching a consensus on the idea of easily swappable connection for our fixture/lights. Our product or idea is the plate on the wall (or the plate that plugs in, or the one in the ceiling) that allows us to attach these various light fixtures for take and go ability. We’d like any fixture; be it tube, ball, parametric form, etc; to have some means of storing energy so that when removed from the plate these fixtures can continue working. We’ve described this as similar to the idea of taking a candle or lantern outside in the past, it is interesting that, that sort of thing was so integral to our lives not that long ago, the lanterns and candles were the actual fixtures in a home! And now that action is completely lost, perhaps to our detriment. We’ve toyed with the idea of making fixtures that could connect to the plates from various points not just a single connection, so even the orientation of the object would be left to design of the user.

Things we still need to decide:

*I think we need to present one good example of this fixture and then show that we are proposing several iterations.

*We need to decide on some sort of translucent material as well a form for the fixture.

*We need to decide on a light type (LED, incandescent, fluorescent, halogen, neon etc.) LED probably provides us with the best option as far as battery life is concerned.

*The plate still needs to be designed, and although the Mac power cord was the inspiration lets stay away from borrowing to liberally from its design.

*That’s all I can remember at the moment: add or comment as you guys see fit.


Idea #7

I had a new idea today completely removed from the direction we are going. I'm not suggesting we do this, merely getting the idea documented in some form.
I was playing with the idea of a interactive system similiar to
the slider puzzles we used to play with as kids.
But using a lighting system instead of tiles. This would consist of several "puck" type lights as well as some sort of board or object to house and deliver power to these pucks.
The interactivity or rearrangement (which is I guess how we are choosing to define interactive in this case...) is very similiar to a Lite Brite, perhaps the most reconfigurable of all lights.

The real trick is to place it on an object that will introduce some element of dynamics into the situation. In this case we are using a bug eye type device, as long as all the pucks are attached to each other (ala our slider puzzle method) the sphere should hold it form. Along with some help from a spherical underlayment that houses the power and magnetic connection.

The bug eye effect gives the whole surface as swarming, moving effect even when the pucks are not being rearranged. The renderings show some initial concepts, I'm thinking about 4' tall with pucks of about 3" in dia. (shown as balls in this case), sorry I didn't have time to make a scaler.

Here you see, the representations of the pucks arrayed around the spherical object (yellow in this case)