Wednesday, June 19, 2019
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MIT City Home Prototype


CityHome consists of a transformable wall system that condenses all the main functions of a bedroom, living room, dining room, kitchen and bathroom into a tiny space without sacrificing most of what you’d have in a larger apartment. You can still cook for and seat a group of six for dinner, sleep in a comfortable full-sized bed and enjoy a movie in a spacious living room.

You tell the room what you need through a combination of hand gestures, voice control and touch elements, with internal motors silently launching the furniture you require at your command. One gesture draws the bed out of the wall, while another calls forth a work desk that doubles as a dining table.

A low-cost, plug-and-play solution, the possibilities for average people are the real key to the design. “This would work well in the 30 to 40 Innovation Cities where young people are priced out of the market,” lead researcher Kent Larson explains. “At $1,000 per square foot in Boston, the extra cost of technology is trivial compared to space saved for a furnished apartment.”

Wave your hand to adjust the ambiance of the room via lighting and window blinds, and move the entire unit against a wall or into the middle of the room at the touch of a button depending on whether you want to divide up the space or gain use of the entire room.

For now, CityHome is just a conceptual proptotype, but MIT envisions turning it into an actual product, possibly through crowdfunding or a layering of individual examples leading up to mass production.

Silk Pavillion


The Silk Pavilion explores the relationship between digital and biological fabrication on product and architectural scales.The primary structure was created of 26 polygonal panels made of silk threads laid down by a CNC (Computer-Numerically Controlled) machine. Inspired by the silkworm’s ability to generate a 3D cocoon out of a single multi-property silk thread (1km in length), the overall geometry of the pavilion was created using an algorithm that assigns a single continuous thread across patches providing various degrees of density. Overall density variation was informed by the silkworm itself deployed as a biological printer in the creation of a secondary structure. A swarm of 6,500 silkworms was positioned at the bottom rim of the scaffold spinning flat non-woven silk patches as they locally reinforced the gaps across CNC-deposited silk fibers. Following their pupation stage the silkworms were removed. Resulting moths can produce 1.5 million eggs with the potential of constructing up to 250 additional pavilions. Affected by spatial and environmental conditions including geometrical density as well as variation in natural light and heat, the silkworms were found to migrate to darker and denser areas. Desired light effects informed variations in material organization across the surface area of the structure. A season-specific sun path diagram mapping solar trajectories in space dictated the location, size and density of apertures within the structure in order to lock-in rays of natural light entering the pavilion from South and East elevations.  The central oculus is located against the East elevation and may be used as a sun-clock. Parallel basic research explored the use of silkworms as entities that can “compute” material organization based on external performance criteria. Specifically, we explored the formation of non-woven fiber structures generated by the silkworms as a computational schema for determining shape and material optimization of fiber-based surface structures. Research and Design by the Mediated Matter Research Group at the MIT Media Lab in collaboration with Prof. Fiorenzo Omenetto (TUFTS University) and Dr. James Weaver (WYSS Institute, Harvard University).


Source: MIT Media Lab