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Self-Assembly Line


A collaboration between Skylar Tibbits, MIT and Arthur Olson, The Molecular Graphics Laboratory, The Scripps Institute, CA.

The Self-Assembly Line aims to construct a large-scale version of self-assembly virus modules as a user-interactive and performative structure. This is an installation that builds installations, where people engage the assembly process by rotating the enclosure, changing the speed/direction and adding parts to influence the performance of self-assembly at macro-scales.

The Self-Assembly Line represents a large-scale version of a self-assembly virus capsid, demonstrated as an interactive and performative structure. A discrete set of modules are activated by stochastic rotation from a larger container/structure that forces the interaction between units. The unit geometry and attraction mechanisms (magnetics) ensure the units will come into contact with one another and auto-align into locally-correct configurations. Overtime as more units come into contact, break away, and reconnect, larger, furniture scale elements, emerge. Given different sets of unit geometries and attraction polarities various structures could be achieved. By changing the external conditions, the geometry of the unit, the attraction of the units and the number of units supplied, the desired global configuration can be programmed.

Project Team:
Martin Seymour, Andrew Manto, Erioseto Hendranata, Justin Gallagher, Laura Salazar, Veronica Emig, Aaron Olson