“Transformer” is a layered, light-responsive shading lattice, designed and fabricated by an interdisciplinary team of students and faculty at Ball State University´s I.M.A.D.E . The system acts as an active shading device, potentially for use within a building envelope.
The prototyped system is comprised of quad-shaped, polystyrene petals arrayed in overlapping, radial clusters. The petals are situated within a lightweight but rigid and patterned support armature formed from planar polycarbonate and acrylic components while housing matrices of sensors and motors.
Local variations in petal movements and aperture size are controlled by simple microcontroller arrays and varying script configurations that interpret light data from photoelectric sensors to drive small servo motors. The axial rotations from the servo motors are converted into opening and closing motions for the petals via custom gears and axles.
The interdisciplinary team leveraged computation throughout the design and prototyping process to
1) actuate mechanical movements (using scripting along with small-scale physical computing equipment);
2) resolve geometry and patterning via parametric design information;
3) simulate and analyze desired lighting scenarios and patterning effects with false color mapping and soft-shadow rendering;
4) fabricate components for prototyping using CNC equipment.
Andre Paul Haffenden