QotD: Beam Me Up

If you could make a magic wish for a futuristic gadget or high-tech innovation, what would your item do? 
Submitted by Red Pen.

Ironic that this question came the day of my Smart Materials class, taught by the terrific Michelle Addington— I even mentioned the Vox QOTD there. We were asked to bring to class examples of the following in an immersion exercise:

1. an example of a smart material or product used in a ubiquitous “architectural” setting

2. an example that illustrates your own image of an” intelligent” environment

3. a material or product that intrigues or delights you regardless of its application

Very cool to see what people brought in… for me, my #1 was Cedric Price's Generator, the subject of my thesis, and Not So White Walls by Interaction-Ivrea student Dario Buzzini. I didn't need to bring that one up, though, because the professor did! Very cool to see work I know so well in a totally different context.

For the ideal intelligent environment, I brought in a picture of the Sensorama to indicate what I don't think is intelligent — it's not an environment you peer into and experience, but rather should be all around you. I likened it to a really good kitchen. Maybe it doesn't look different at all; it just feels better. Like cashmere. Only not on your pots and pans.

Speaking of which, for #3, I brought in a ball of yarn that my stepsister Darci gave me (and I haven't fully knit up). It's fuzzy and forest green, immensely soft. It's the wonder of acrylic, not the stuff from the 60s and 70s, but a whole industry of fantastic acrylic available now. I also tossed out a hat I made not of acrylic but of cashmerino (it is what it sounds like): an intense Turkish pattern in light blue and chocolate brown with three corners. I'd love to find ways to knit or weave smart materials into something more than just a surface application. And I'm very keen to see Sheila Kennedy's textile pieces that do this.

I'm very excited about this class. Since my thesis is about responsiveness in architecture at an earlier moment in time, I'm keen for current examples. Moreover, one of my goals in keeping a foot in interaction design and another in architecture is to bridge fields in a personal manner, to work in both fields. This will be a way to do so.


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