Archive for November, 2005
Tourists need accommodation, and Las Vegas hotelier Robert Bigelow is aiming to supply it. Adapted from TransHab, a never-used NASA design for an inflatable space station, Bigelow’s Nautilus space station module will provide 330 cubic metres of living space for space tourists or industrial researchers.
The inflatable multilayered polymer hull of the “hab” will be around 30 centimetres thick and will contain layers of Kevlar – as used in bullet-proof vests – to provide some protection against micrometeorites and space debris.Bigelow’s engineers are testing the strength of the sandwich of high-tech fabrics and radiation shielding that will make up Nautilus’s hull by firing high-speed projectiles at it. They are also testing the hab to destruction by over-inflating the modules, with the resulting explosions contained in rigid test cages.
Nautiluses could be flown as independent space stations or connected with a docking mechanism to make bigger hotels. Bigelow sees economies of scale as one of the keys to profitability, and plans to sell space hotels to rivals for $100 million each.
If all goes well with orbital tests of one-third-scale test modules to be launched late next year, Bigelow plans to launch the first habitable Nautilus in 2008, around the time SpaceDev expects the first private orbital flights to be happening.
While Starzyk, for one, does not think commercial orbital vehicles will happen that soon, space flight has always been fuelled by dreamers daring to expect the impossible. Time will tell if they are right. The next question is when will the interactive architects get their chance to add a bit of poetry to these inflatables?
from New Scientist via wmmna
November 30th, 2005
Here’s a cool little sensor product that uses capacitive sensing technology (the measure of minute electrical changes in elecrical capacity caused by objects moving in the immediate proximity of the sensing electrodes). What that means is that large conductive objects like the human body are easily detected. The sensors can not see through metal or other conductive materials as they block electric fields. The Sensacell can be ordered with or without on-board lighting. What’s nice is that they are modular and can be plugged together to make up larger grids for interactive architecture of differing scales.
Sensacell modules have various operation modes applicable for interactive architecture. In autonomous modes, modules perform actions without any interaction with the outside world, eg. they light up and change state when a sensor is triggered. They can also run in a passive mode updated by an external connection.
November 30th, 2005
The Hello.Wall is an ambient display that emits information via light patterns and is considered informative art.
As an integral part of the physical environment, Hello.Wall constitutes a seeding element of a social architectural space conveying awareness information and atmospheric aspects within organizations or at specific places.
Interaction in Public Spaces
To contribute to a social architectural space, we focused on user interactions in rather public spaces within office buildings and designed a medium and mediator for conveying social awareness and atmospheric aspects at specific places in order to support informal communication.
Communicating social awareness and atmospheric aspects within an organization includes general and specific feedback mechanisms that allow addressing different target groups via different representation codes and displays [implicit vs. explicit]. Individuals as well as groups can create public and private codes depending on the purpose of their intervention. The content to be communicated can cover a wide range and will be subject to modification, adjustment, and elaboration based on the experience people have.
November 29th, 2005
Here’s HMC Medialab‘s Lacuna Project which is up and running at the Portland Square Building in Plymouth, UK.
Lacuna is a response to the relationship between body and architecture in the cyborg era. Existing in the perceived ‘gap’ between physical volume and electronic volume, Lacuna is customised software that communicates between the visual medium of the screen and a high resolution electronic skin of real world architecture. This in turn creates virtual counterpart architecture, enhancing the electronic Cybrid dimension of construction.
Lacuna is a new architectural experiment that allows physical architecture to extend itself into the realm of zero physicality to become a Hyperflexible Space. Movement, temperature, gasses, wind, sound, data, water usage, electrical information, fans, and lift position are among a few of the hundreds of sensors used to alter the Lacuna software in real-time, allowing a unique representation of the building not in traditional space and time or virtual electronic space, but somewhere between the two.
Visitors to Plymouth’s unique Portland Square building interact not through the key-press, or mouse-click associated with computing, but their very presence, or lack of presence, and usage of the building is converted into electronic signals. This, for the first time, allows visitors to exist simultaneously in the real and the virtual, they are everywhere and nowhere. Lacuna is in a constant state of flux, and intelligently updates, modifies and mutates itself many times a second.
November 28th, 2005