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Microbial Ecologies

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(all images by Fran Castillo)
Microbial Ecologies (ME) is an ongoing research by Fran Castillo, Peter Malaga, Yogesh Karekar and Priyanka Narula developed at the IAAC proposing a speculative scenario in which is able to explore new robotic fabrication processes as a framework for investigating the generation of (bio)artificial systems. These systems allow us to regenerate and protect the soil erosion and encourage healthy plant growth using interconnected 3D fiber systems. The research aims to explore a heterogeneity of fiber structures at a broad range of spatial scales. The heterogeneity and interconnectivity of the 3D fiber system within soil makes it a biodiverse microhabitat for the diverse microbial population and vegetal systems. The system that ME is proposing has a pivotal role in microbial interactions, therefore It is able to amplify the biodiversity of ecosystems.

Microbial Ecologies focuses on the development of fiber structures to characterize soil at multiples scales that are relevant for micro organisms.

Microbial Ecologies from Responsive Environment on Vimeo.

The system is structured in three main dimensions, the first one is proposing a Sensor System (SS) as a framework for processing environmental data. The prototype has been developed in Valldaura / Barcelona. This Sensing technology is feeding our second dimension (Software Simulation) and parametrizing the virtual prototype. The parameters which are modeling the software are : water flows, slope gradient, solar radiation, thus, the fiber pattern is defined according to environemntal data processing.

The software simulation (S) is based on physics engine and explores new ways of simulating fiber behavior. The parameters that are encoding the virtual prototype are : distance between fibers, lengths of fibers codify by number of particles per each fiber, fluid properties, dipping time and frecuency. The internal logic of simulation is based in rules that are been extracting in physical experiments, in which we tested the fiber behaviour under different dipping techniques and also different fluid properties. These material behavior experiments allow us to understand the emergent fiber behavior processes. The software explores new ways of form-generation and develop new system for modeling complex adaptive environment.

Finally the third dimension, It is Actuation System/Fabrication System (FS). This dimension is physically modeling through robotic processes all datasets that are been processed in the digital simulation, all of these processes are proposing a new hybrid framework for modeling architectural ecosystem. It investigates new feedback loops between physical and digital systems.

Microbial Ecologies is exploring new robotic fabrication protocols using natural fibers as a medium for designing micro habitats.

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