Virtual Environments Module 4

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  • Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    MODULE FOUR: Reflection

    Brian Siu 635900

  • MODULE ONE: Ideation

    Virtual Environments ENVS10008

  • PANEL + FOLD SYSTEM STUDY:Folding Fan

    Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    The material system I focused on was the panel and fold system. In order to understand how this system works, I studied the folding fan, which features a prominent panel and fold mechanic in the way it opens and closes. In particular, I looked at how the panels spread out and unfold as the wooden slats revolve. I was interested in how the folding panels allow the fan to turn from a compact form into a spread-out form with a large surface area.

    Virtual Environments ENVS10008

  • SYSTEM EXPLORATION:Measured Drawings

    Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    Through the measured drawings, it was interesting to see the shape that the fan forms while it is unfolded. As the fan opens it, the slats seem to spiral upwards due to the height difference of each slat, with the pivot joint at the centre of rotation.

  • SYSTEM EXPLORATION:Rhino 3D Model

    Virtual Environments ENVS10008Virtual Environments ENVS10008

  • SYSTEM EXPLORATION:Object Reconfiguration

    Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    In order to explore the different properties of the panel and fold system, I took the fan apart and reconfigured it into a cylindrical form which creates a volumetric shape. I was particularly fascinated by how the panels unfold and spread out to form this shape, and how this can possibly serve as a method to wrap around the human body for protection and serve as a second skin.

  • SKETCH IDEAS:Second Skin/Personal Space

    Virtual Environments ENVS10008Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    This initial sketch idea for a second skin is based on the idea of protecting personal space through threat. This is done through the inclusion of spikes, which create unoccupiable space for people around the user. Using the panel and fold system, the spikes would be able to fold up into a compact form when not in use, due to the individual panels which form the spikes. This idea of using spikes was taken from nature, primarily with the example of the echidna, which also uses protrusions on its body as a form of protection.

  • SKETCH IDEAS:Second Skin/Personal Space

    Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    The second sketch idea revolves around the idea of personal space on an aural level, instead of physical space. As explained by Sommer (1969), unwanted loud noises near ones self can also feel like an invasion of personal space. This particular idea is intended to shield the user from such noise invasion by covering the ears. The second skin would be made up of individual panels, so that panels can be opened up when not in use to expose the ears.

  • Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    SKETCH IDEAS:Second Skin/Personal Space

    Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    This third sketch idea is based on the idea of shielding personal space. In a way, it is similar to the first sketch idea of spikes, by creating unoccupiable space through the second skin. However, this design does not focus on threatening others as a method of protection, rather simply through enlarging the users body area to prevent others from getting close.

  • Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    MODULE TWO: Design

  • PRECEDENTS

    Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    Extension of the body

    Our group focused on using sounds as an expression and projection of personal space, particularly emphasizing on noises produced by the mouth. This altered the way we viewed the second skin, and instead of being something which protected space, we started looking at it as an extension of the body, allowing the body to do things previously unable to do. For this particular idea, we looked at Aimee Mullins, a para-athlete who uses pros-thetic legs. In her TED talk, she described her prosthetics as something which allowed her to be super-abled, and extended her abilities. This influenced our design in that it should allow the user to use their voice in a way which they could not before, and that is to express their personal space, simply through the projection of their voice.

    Sound manipulation through patterns

    In order to gain some inspiration and to generate ideas, we mainly looked at auditory and acoustic-related designs, both in products as well as archi-tecture. One form of sound manipulation we looked at was aural architec-ture, as well as sound scattering shapes often used in environments such as concert halls and recording studios, where audio quality is crucial. In par-ticular, we looked at the design of Knowlton School of Architectures main space, which was experimented with by implementing a material with a certain shape to allow sound movement. The material is casted in a repeat-ing pattern to manipulate any noise in the vicinity. We found similar patterns being sold as acoustics products, which scattered sound to create a pas-sive surround sound effect.

  • PRECEDENTS

    Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    Passive sound amplificationAs we concentrated on the mouth being an outlet of sound and using that sound to express personal space, we explored designs of passive sound amplification, and forms that project noises. We came across some sound amplifying devices for mobile phones which did not use electricity to oper-ate, instead only relying on the devices shape to increase the volume level. Throughout the various designs we looked at, we found that they all shared common elements among them. For example, every design featured a hollowed out channel which redirected the source of the sounds. We also noticed that the designs often had mouths that widened to spread the sound and amplify it.

  • SKETCH IDEAS

    Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    This sketch idea is mainly based on the precedent of passive sound amplification. This second skin design features a number of amplifiers in different positions, which are interconnected through channels from the mouth, allowing the wearer to amplify their own voice.

  • SKETCH IDEAS

    Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    This particular sketch idea is based on the use of patterns to manipulate sound. As the sound hits the surface, the patterns diffuse the sound. These initial design features parts of the second skin near the mouth area which have the patterns on it, diffusing any sound that the wearer creates.

  • Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    PROTOTYPE:Exploring Skin + Bone

    Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    This prototype was made in order to test out how the skin and bone material system would work when used to fabricate our design, particularly in terms of how it could be used for volumetric forms. The basic bones of this model were made with wooden skewers, while the skin was made with plastic wrapping. The model proved to be quite fragile, as the wooden frame is quite slim, while the skin is made of extremely thin materials. We decided that this would not be a viable option for fabrication, as it would only become more fragile when enlarged.

  • PROTOTYPE:Testing Connections

    Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    This model was made with the intention of testing out the basic form of the sound amplifiers, as well as trialling the connections between speakers. Through this prototype, we found that the input opening needs to be much smaller in comparison to the output opening where the amplified sound exits. The large input opening means that much of the sound escapes from the sides instead of travelling through the channel and being amplified. This is something which must be considered when the final model is fabricated.

  • Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    PROTOTYPE:Exploring Pattern

    Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    This prototype is an exploration of the pattern we will be using for sound diffusion. The pattern is comprised of different square pyramids which have the same sized bases, but are sloped and angled differently in order to diffuse any soundwaves which hit the surface.

    Another pattern was fabricated, this time with a different shaped base. In addition, some of the panels were cut open to create flaps and holes which may affect the way it diffuses sound through the different openings on the surface of the pattern.

  • Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    MODULE THREE: Fabrication

  • Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    PROTOTYPE:Testing Second Skins Form

    Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    This prototype is a scaled down form model of what the final design is intended to look like while being worn by the user.

  • COMPLETE SECOND SKIN:Rhino 3D Model

    Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    The completed design features a total of 6 amplifiers, all connected to a central large cylinder, with another channel that connects to the wearers mouth.

  • Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    COMPLETE SECOND SKIN:Rhino 3D Model

    Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    The final design features patterns on both the outside and inside. The inside patterns are based on the precedent of sound manipulation through patterns. The patterns will diffuse sound as it travels through the amplifiers.

  • FABRICATION PROCESS

    Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    During the fabrication process, several problems became apparent. The amplifiers with the patterns on the inside proved to be too heavy, and the connections simply couldnt hold the weight of the amplifiers. The connections were also weak as the hexagonal amplifiers didnt match the circular shape of the cylinders.

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    COMPLETE SECOND SKIN:Remodel

    Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    As the original design could not be fabricated, the entire design was revised. This new design is much smaller, only focusing around the shoulders of the user. This design is still based on the principles of passive sound amplification and patterns.

  • COMPLETE SECOND SKIN:Remodel

    Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    The revised design features two amplifiers, one facing the back and one facing the front. The design now features just one channel which spirals around the neck of the user, balancing on the shoulders. This creates a stronger connection during fabrication, as there is no need for multiple cylinders to interconnect with each other, simplifying the process.

  • Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    FABRICATION PROCESS:Second Attempt

    Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    For fabrication, the model was produced in multiple sections, each section being one ring of the amplifier/channel, each segment then joining together with tabs. This proved to be a much more effective method of fabrication, and allowed for a stronger bond between each segment.

  • Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    FABRICATION PROCESS:Final Model

    The final model features the form we intended with the revised design, however due to time constraints, the external patterns were omitted. Instead, internal patterns were installed in the amplifier facing the back. These patterns act to diffuse any sound which passes through, and creates an echo within the volumetric cavity.

  • Virtual Environments ENVS10008

    REFLECTION

    Throughout this semester of Virtual Environments, I have this subject to be both challenging and fascinating, exposing me to new ideas and new ways of thinking, particularly about design and idea development. During tutorial sessions when peers would share their design ideas, I often found myself being quite intrigued by how others work through their design process, and how different they can be to my own ideas. Particularly, seeing different solutions to the sec-ond skin design brief was quite fascinating, and the perception of the personal space concept also intrigued me. In this regard, the reading on personal space (Sommer 1969) allowed me to gain a deeper understanding about how people behave to protect their private space. This newly gained understanding also assisted me in developing designs for the second skin project, as I could now tailor the design specifically to certain needs people may have in regards to personal space and privacy.

    Designing the second skin in a group setting proved to be somewhat of a challenge at times. Learning to take in others ideas and suggestions and incorporat-ing them into the design was a little difficult, as I was used to being in control of the entire project in past times. However, the experience has also taught me a lot about working with peers, especially in a design-orientated setting.

    In regards to the second skin project in particular, fabrication was the most challenging part for me. The translation from a digital to physical model was some-thing which I never grasped before, particularly all the elements which had to be considered when reproducing a Rhino model as a real object. Due to my inexperience, the fabrication process was not quite smooth, and our group encountered a number of problems along the way. However, this experience has taught me some important lessons about fabrication, which should help me in any future design projects. The use of prototypes was also a new aspect to me, and through this subject I have learnt the importance of producing effective prototypes. It could have allowed our group to discover problems with the physi-cal model earlier, which could have allowed us to revise the design at an earlier stage. Despite the challenges faced in this fabrication module, the assigned readings were helpful in assisting my understanding of the fabrication process. The reading by Pottmann, Asperl, Hofer and Kilian (2007) was particularly help-ful in allowing me to understand how materials such as paper work in fabrication, and assisted me in making certain choices about fabrication methods for models. The reading by Iwamoto (2009) allowed me gained a deeper understanding into the use of digital models, which helped me in understanding the importance of creating accurate Rhino models during the design process. The reading by Kolarevic (2003) was also a good insight into how digital technology has impacted the design industry, changing the way people think and act about designs. Overall, this entire subject has been very rewarding, and through the different modules, I have learnt many things about the design process.

  • APPENDIX:READINGS SUMMARIES

    Architecture in the Digital Age - Design and Manufacturing (Kolarevic 2003)This reading by Branko Kolarevic discusses the impact of technology on design and architecture. As technology advanced, it also changed the way architects worked in designing the forms and structures of their projects. New digital software allowed complex curvilinear shapes to be accurately calculated, which enabled architects to design and construct such structures in practical situ-ations. The possibility of 3D scanning also allows for hand-made physical models to be translated into a digital medium to enable precise calculations. This method proves to be effective for architects who prefer working thr...