Project: Tessellation

Concept: Omar AL FALEH &Nikolaos Chandolias
Support: Marcello Licitra

ACATUS, the Greek word for the mythological “floating vessel”, is a modular suspended interactive light structure that is responsive to people’s presence and action. When looked at from above, ACATUS is a rigid grid of equal squares, which is the traditional reductionist divisive systems that describe space and place in traditional architectural drawings. However, ACATUS’ grid vertices are vertically displaced to transform the perspective of those who walk under it into a varying geometrical landscape that does not obstruct vision yet influences their behavior and trajectory in space.
This formal geometrical deformation is a reminiscence of the early experimentation in deconstructive architecture where systems (semiotic, symbolic, and representational) are iteratively transformed and complexified. The resulting shapes are a snapshot of this transformation that holds evidence of its origins and futures, thus adding a temporal dimension to the genesis of ACATUS as dynamic responsive architecture that exists across the four dimensions.

ACATUS is designed to respond to different modalities of interaction: presence, motion, and sound levels. The response is rendered on the node level rather than lines, which is a symbolic reference to constellations and star mapping, which was the original path-finding and geo-mapping system, before digital systems were invented.
ACATUS exists on various states that are presence-dependent. When no one is present in the installation, ACATUS cycles between different pre-determined animated behaviors. When presence is detected, response happens on the sonic level and on the motion tracking levels, and rendering the response is responsive to the accumulated input of the multiple users within the space.


Project: Memory, Place, Identity

Concept: Sha Xin Wei, David Morris, Omar AL FALEH
Support:David Clark

This project is an experiment in replacing the physicality and permanency of the built environment by a dynamic, ephemeral, and immaterial architecture that is implied by a computationally activated touch sensation.

The potentials of such platforms allows for the dynamic morphology of this implied architecture, with its divisions, scale, and delineations, by the process of manipulating certain ephemeral elements in the space, namely: light sources.

To examine these concepts, a wearable computing device was built to be the interface between the body and space through light sensing and haptic feedback. Subjects were asked to wear a glove-like item which has a small photocell mounted to a prosthetic extension of the glove’s index finger, and a small actuator that is placed under the fingertip of the glove. The glove is connected to a microcontroller unit that handles the computation and signal processing locally and in real time. Once the photocell detects the presence of light (above a certain threshold, to focus on direct light source detection instead of environmental and refracted lights), the small actuator, which is placed on the fingertip, gets activated, therefore giving the haptic sensation of touching a solid object. The sensing process works on discreet on/off modes, which makes the haptic feedback similar to the presence, or lack thereof, of solid objects in real-life.