How to Make Almost Anything  


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[ 9/8: introduction ]
[ 9/22: CAD,CAM ]
[ 9/29: PCB fabrication, board stuffing ]
[ 10/6: microcontroller programming ]

[ 10/13: PCB design ]

[ 10/20: 3D scanning and printing ]
[ 10/27: input devices ]
[ 11/3: waterjet cutter, CNC mill, router ]
[ 11/10: modeling ]
[ 11/17: output devices ]
[ 11/24: molding ]
[ 12/1: networking and communications ]
[ 12/8: final project preparation ]
[ 12/15: final project presentations ]


email: dcardoso [at] sinmit [dot] edu

[ daniel cardoso . site ]


A responsive electrochromic ETFE foil cushion

electrochromic device


Figure 1. A scheme of an electrochromic device, as described in (Granqvist 2005)

What if building facades were soft, organic objects, whose color and opacity changed in response to human touch?

I want to attempt a response to this question by merging three technologies into a single architectural component, (1) architecture-grade ethylenetetrafluoroethulene (ETFE) cushions, (2) electrochromic films “smart windows,” and (3) low-voltage, high sensitivity pressure sensors linked to a network of micro controllers to create a soft, translucent facade element that changes opacity when touched. I've been wanting to implement this project since my first year at MIT, but lack knowledge of key areas; the project mixes different existing technologies, is theoretically possible (I think!), but has never been prototyped. I have, however, done some basic research on the potential components:

The following sketches show how I think an architectural component could integrate the ETFE cushion, the air-pressure sensors, and the electrochromic film.

Figure 2. An idea for the assembly



Figure 3. A system like this would be an interesting 'tangible' facade. For the final prototype, a set of 3 functional cushions would effectively prove the concept.


Figure 4. Schematic section of the facade, detail and front view of a sensor’s node

propagation of behavior
Figure 5. The local behavior could be overriden sometimes to create nice patterns of transparency, or color?

If accepted into the class I will make some videos exploring the system and the visual patterns of the facade.

One of the kexagons with the pillows, showing transparency change.

I wanted to simulate transparency patterns in the facade. I wrote an OBJ parser in c++ and displayed it uisng OpenGL. But I underestiated the task. I didn't get to program any behavior in the facade.

    [ daniel cardoso site ]