Fall 2000 IPRO

Technology and Art - A Kinetic Sculpture

Professor Robert J. Krawczyk (ARCH) x73930 or krawczyk@iit.edu

If you are interested, please email me prior to enrolling in the IPRO with a summary of your background and interest.

Summary:

The focus of this project is to investigate the ability of buildings to respond to their environment. The prototype will be a wall sculpture which can react to temperature, light, sound, presence, image recognition, movement, touch, Web requests, or direct commands. These stimuli will be inserted into algorithms that will generate a response based on interesting mathematical relationships or functions. This project will investigate the construction of the sculpture, how to monitor stimuli, development of algorithms, and how to have the sculpture respond; dealing with both the design and technical issues. In addition to building a working model, images of the sculpture could be transmitted over the Internet. This project will need students from architecture, design, electrical, materials, mechanical, and computer science.



Background:

Much was been discussed about building automation systems and so called "smart buildings". Students may be able to visit buildings which have such systems installed or read about them, but little opportunity exists for actual hands-on experience. This project attempts to use a piece of sculpture as a response device to demonstrate smart building type systems. The students would learn the type of monitoring that is available today, how they work, how they can be read by computers, and how they can be used to make decisions and actually respond physically. I see this as a continuous educational platform where other investigations could be developed. For example, a project could be developed to analyze the data collected over time to look for patterns. Depending on the installation of the monitoring devices the project would encompass a single wall, room, building, or the entire campus.

Areas of research and resource:

- type of devices that can generate environmental readings
- how can these devices be connected to a computer
- the material aspects of the sculpture; membrane design
- issues in real time programming
- how to write computer programs which accept these devices
- how to write computer programs which activate other devices to move the sculpture
- how to get input from the Internet
- how to display the sculpture in real time on the Internet
- the mechanical and electrical components to make the sculpture move
- development of the algorithms that will take the environmental readings and convert them to interesting responses; orderly or randomly generated
- in addition to movement in the sculpture, can it make sound, or control lighting
- the lighting of the sculpture, as prototyped, the shadows produce as interesting a design as the moving parts
- review of the area of kinetic sculpture
- review of the current design of the sculpture

Finally, if all goes well, this could be placed in the new University Campus Center.


For further information or comment contact: Robert J. Krawczyk

Copyright 1998 Robert J. Krawczyk All Rights Reserved