a2o // a responsive mediator – Jonathan Grinham

Today on F+ we are showcasing Jonathan Grinham’s, from Virginia tech, a student who’s design research has landed him between the social design world of architecture and robotics.  His project a2o is an intense design research project, similarly to the work we posted in the RPI BUILDSMART studio.  The project goes far beyond the logistics of design, but integrates actual social interaction between architecture and the user.  Check it out after the jump!

STUDENT: Jonathan Grinham
SCHOOL:  
Virginia Tech
PROFESSORS: Kihong Ku
YEAR: 2010
COURSE: Prototyping in Architectural Robotics for Technology-enriched Education

a2o // a responsive mediator from Jonathan Grinham on Vimeo.

“a2o explores ‘Appliance Architecture,’ manifesting itself as a new aesthetic affect that exploits the symbiotic relationships between the exterior and interior spaces of a building to discover a new order between the tectonic, kinetic and ornamental. The appliance, in this case, is a study of building subassemblies with imbedded intelligence. These system utilizes servomechanism, sensors, processors and algorithmic logic to ask, what architecture can be?

// a2o was developed as a full-scale prototype designed within Michael Fox’s classification of dynamic kinetic structure. These systems are understood to be singular systems able to actively influence localized climates within a building system. In the case of a2o, the design was based on the narrative of a sun-shading interface.

The design focuses on the capacity for realization. Therefore, a plug and play nodal design was adopted. A nodal design allowed a2o to have a small profile in elevation as well as a singular physical connection to the system’s framework. The use of a nodal system also shifted the understanding of a2o from an architecture that required a host building to an architectural product that was an expandable piece/part system.

a2o // evolution from Jonathan Grinham on Vimeo.

The team envisioned a bottom up design for the physical construction within a top down computational logic. Each unit contains dedicated sensors (infrared range finder and photocell) and dedicated actuators (linear actuator, RGB LED, and piezo buzzer). Sensory data collected by each individual unit is relayed to a master controller – in this case an Arduino microprocessor – which controls a pixel of five units.

The master controller would then describe an action for the individual units to perform in direct relationship to the sensory data it collected. If the master controller recognizes a specific set of data – in this case no data – it could then describe a preset task for all of the units within its pixel to perform, producing a top down response. This logic structure, described as cellular automaton, allows for the piece/part system to be expanded infinitely as each pixel within the system becomes a unit within the subsequent pixel.”

- Jonathan Grinham

All Images and Text via Jonathan Grinham 

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