I am very happy to announce that my full-paper titled A Five-Axis Robotic Motion Controller for Designers has been accepted for presentation and publication in the conference proceedings of the ACADIA 2011 conference to be held at the Banff Center, Calgary Canada from Oct. 11th-16th, 2011. You can find out more about the entire line-up of speakers on the ACADIA website. I'll also be releasing more information about this project (and paper) very soon, so stay tuned.
I would also like to mention that I will be teaching a two-day workshop on physical computing (using Arduino, Grasshopper, and Firefly) as part of the ACADIA pre-conference workshop series. This fast-paced workshop will focus on hardware and software prototyping techniques. For more information, see the workshop description below.
In 1991, Mark Weiser published a paper in Scientific American titled, The Computer for the 21st Century, where he predicted that as technology advanced, becoming cheaper, smaller, and more powerful, it would begin to "recede into the background of our lives" - taking a more camouflaged, lifestyle-integrated form. He called this Ubiquitous Computing (Ubicomp for short), or the age of calm technology. There have been numerous examples to support Weiser's claim, including Natalie Jeremijinko's "Live Wire" project (1995), the Ambient Orb (2002), or the Microsoft Surface Table (2007) to name just a few.
In 1997 Hiroshi Ishii expanded Weiser's idea in a seminal paper titled Tangible Bits where he examined how architectural spaces could be transformed through the coupling of digital information (bits) with tangible objects. Where Wieser’s research aimed to make the computer ‘invisible’ by embedding smaller and smaller computer terminals into everyday objects, Ishii looked to change the way people created and interacted with digitally augmented spaces.
Both Weiser and Ishii have had a significant impact on the development of physical computing, a term used to describe a field of research interested in the construction of physical systems that can sense and respond to their surroundings through the use of software and hardware systems. It overlaps with other forms of tangible computing (ie. ubiquitous, wearable, invisible) and incorporates both material and computational media, employing mechanical and electronic systems.
Interest in physical computing has risen dramatically over the last fifteen years in the fields of architecture, engineering, industrial design, and art. Designers in the future will be called upon to create spaces that are computationally enhanced. Rather than simply design traditional buildings and then add a computational layer, it is better to conceive and design this integration from the outset. A review of the literature reveals that there are no established methodologies for designing architectural spaces as smart or intelligent spatial systems. As such, it is clear that a new multidisciplinary approach is needed to bring together research in the fields of interaction design (IxD), architectural design, product design, human computer interaction (HCI), embedded systems, and engineering to create a holistic design strategy for more livable and productive spaces. Preparing architectural designers for these challenges demands a range of knowledge, skills, and experience well beyond the traditional domain of architectural education. This workshop in Physical Computing at the ACADIA 2011 conference is in line with the conference theme of Integration Through Computation.
2011.October.11 | Workshop Day 1 at University of Calgary
2011.October.12 | Workshop Day 2 at University of Calgary
All students will be required to bring their own laptops preloaded with the latest versions of Rhino, Grasshopper, and Arduino. The latest build of Firefly will be provided to all workshop participants. Trial software will also be made available.
Given the nature of the workshop, each student will be required to bring a small set of hardware components to begin their physical prototypes. There are many different packages to choose from, but the following are recommended:
Arduino Starter Pack or equal [includes the new Arduino Uno Atmega328, Protoboard, and a good selection of starter components]. 2 Standard Servo Motors similar to these: Adafruit or Hi-Tec from Servocity.
Arduino Experimentation Kit v1.0 or Sparkfun's Inventors Kit for Arduino [includes the new Arduino Uno Atmega328, Prototyping bundles, and a great selection of starter components]. 2 Standard Servo Motors similar to these: Adafruit or Hi-Tec from Servocity.
Students are encouraged to bring other components if they have them, but the packages should serve as a good starting point.