18:30 - 20:00 12 January 2012
Location: Chemistry Lecture Theatre 1, Gordon Street, London, WC1
Human Automata & Computational Construction
Currently, our construction processes are plagued with out-dated techniques, analog methodologies and tolerance-prone assemblies. Recently emerging opportunities to utilize computational and digital information for automated-assembly processes has come at a critical time in the discipline. A time when we are striving to build at extremely large-scales, nano-scales, with extreme efficiency, reduced energy consumption, minimal construction budgets and a variety of accumulating constraints. Cellular automata and other computational models for embedding computational logic within fundamental physical blocks may offer new methodologies for construction. Our material parts of the future may have various states; embedded logic and can switch between states based on neighboring constraints. The user (robotic arm, human brick-layer etc) becomes energy input, while the parts become the computational design medium.
Can our parts contain enough information that they can be assembled without instructions, accurately and non-deterministically (while adapting to environmental/structural/other constraints) for universal construction?
Does the seed know how to become a flower, does the cell know how to become a human? Examples like these demonstrate that through the propagation of simple state-based decision-making and contextual constraints, a system can build highly functional and complex assemblies. We aim to propose a similar opportunity for the construction industry.
These new construction processes may contain “computational materials” (not necessarily embedded with electronics and motors – rather the fundamental principles behind computation and digital information) as well as computational processes for constructing complex assemblies through simple, local, rule-sets. These systems may explore self-assembly, self-repair, self-replication, self-learning processes and aim at complete autonomy and/or user-material guided interaction.
SKYLAR TIBBITS is a trained Architect, Designer and Computer Scientist whose research currently focuses on developing self-assembly technologies for large-scale structures in our physical environment. Skylar graduated from Philadelphia University with a 5 yr. Bachelor of Architecture degree and minor in experimental computation. Continuing his education at MIT, he received a Masters of Science in Design + Computation and a Masters of Science in Computer Science.
Skylar is currently a lecturer in MIT's Department of Architecture, teaching graduate and undergraduate design studios and co-teaching How to Make (Almost) Anything, a seminar at MIT's Media Lab. Skylar was recently awarded a TED2012 Senior Fellowship, a TED2011 Fellowship and has been named a Revolutionary Mind in SEED Magazine's 2008 Design Issue. His previous work experience includes: Zaha Hadid Architects, Asymptote Architecture, SKIII Space Variations and Point b Design. Skylar has exhibited work at a number of venues around the world including: the Guggenheim Museum NY and the Beijing Biennale, lectured at MoMA and SEED Media Group's MIND08 Conference, Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Rhode Island School of Design, the Institute for Computational Design in Stuttgart and The Center for Architecture NY. He has been published in numerous articles and built large-scale installations around the world from Paris, Calgary, NY to Frankfurt and MIT. As a guest critic, Skylar has visited a range of schools from the University of Pennsylvania, Pratt Institute and Harvard's Graduate School of Design.
Skylar Tibbits is the founder and principal of SJET LLC. Started in 2007 as platform for experimental computation + design, SJET has grown into a multidisciplinary research based practice crossing disciplines from architecture + design, fabrication, computer science to robotics.