Smart Geometry 2012
Cluster Champions: Mariana Ibanez / Simon Kim / Nick Puckett
The Beyond Mechanics Cluster at Smart Geometry 2012 developed wearable, responsive prototypes using shape-memory polymer. The workshop used Project Blackbox to design and create custom polymers on site that allowing the response temperature to be determined as part of the overall design process. The prototypes focused on issues of Clothing/Cladding: a wearable computing and a building envelope system developed by IKstudio. This system gives the opportunity to develop prototypes that address issues of interface and kinetics at a range of scales.
Shape-setting materials provide a new set of potentials for designing dynamics in objects and systems. This type of kinetics goes beyond the traditional scope of actuation by mechanical movements. Unlike traditional kinetic systems that rely on separate and discrete parts working together, we are developing a design discipline of smart material that can create movement through its singular chemistry and geometry. Dynamic materials also promise a break in conceptualizing movement through a model of engineering. With smart materials, the reliance on a mechanical frame and surface is dispensed so that a more direct line is established between production and application. For this workshop will be focusing on Shape-Memory Polymer and Hydrogel. Shape-Memory Polymer can be trained into a position, baked to that form, and then manipulated into another shape. A stimulus such as heat moves the material back to the original shape within its atomic structure – without any external hinge or gear. Hydrogel is a super-absorbant polymer that responds to a specific temperature range by expanding/contracting in volume up to 300%.
The two polymers, Shape-Memory Polymer and Hydrogel, will be produced and manufactured on site using Project BlackBox, a device developed by Alt N research in collaboration with the Bioactive Interfaces Lab at the University of Kentucky. Blackbox is a UV curing system that was built to scale up small material samples to usable 1:1 building materials. In both cases the polymers are mixed using varying amounts of a Monomer, Crosslinker, and a Photo Initiator. Both Hydrogel and SMP respond to heat and by varying the ratio of the chemicals, and we will design the specific response temperature of the material by adjusting these ratios in the lab.
In parallel to the production of the Responsive Polymers, we will examine the scale of production and effects that this material promotes. Once it is cured, the polymers can be laser cut and worked into different configurations. This will allow participants to develop the specific potentials of each system through a series of prototypes. These prototypes will focus on issues of Clothing/Cladding: a wearable computing and a building envelope system developed by IKstudio. This system gives the opportunity for participants to develop prototypes that address issues of interface and kinetics at a range of scales. The small-scale and intimacy of the body can be tested against the large and urban scale of the building and the city. These tests are not models or proxies, but are seen as full-scale working prototypes. The results of these tests will then be fed back into the overall manufacturing and design system to allow iterative adjustments at the chemical and assembly level.