Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Parameters, Nature, Human Body and Movement: from Numbers To Objects

While delving into a PhD program in a university the other side of the planet —studying the effect of human movement on mental processes— I spent a week of my academic leave as a "designer in residence" at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD). The residency is part of the "Out of Hands" exhibition, which is devoted to man-made objects fabricated using digital technology and is introduced in the MAD website as "the first museum show to consider the impact of these new, revolutionary methods of computer-assisted manufacture on fine art, design, and architecture".
The work done as "designer in residency" represented an effort to reconnect the disconnect between academic research work and actual making. The agenda  was the creation of 3D digital models and 3D printings of bioforms. The geometric definition of forms were related to proportion, symmetry and other mathematical principle. The workflow included:
  1. Selection of a "simple" form from the world of nature;
  2. Mathematical definition of the geometric law behind the form;
  3. Implementation of a C# script to develop the form in Bentley GenerativeComponents, a parametric associative software;
  4. Definition of parameters to generate a 3D digital model of the selected form according to the printer specification
  5. 3D printing of the form.

Parametric associative scripting and a starfish model
3D printed examples of bioforms
An helix shaped seashell
A starfish: pentagonal symmetry, loft surfaces and spline curves
A nautilus shell from the logarithmic spiral
A polyhedral flower

I mainly focused on shapes from the sea world, starfish and seashells. The starfish can be generated from radial symmetry of loft surfaces from spline curves (nurbs).  The nautilus shell geometry evolves from loft surfaces and extrusions of paths generated from logarithmic spirals.
I also started to explore "molecular" assemblies of tetrahedral tessellations.
Tetrahedral molecules
A truncated icosahedron (fullerene)

3D scanning selfies: multiples of the self