RADICAL ATOMS

Radical Atoms Titelfoto_590x350

photo: © 2012 Tangible Media Group / MIT Media Lab

How do we get the digital (back) into the physical world? An answer to this question could be so-called radical atoms. In a sort of digital core meltdown, they bond information and material—the information liberated from the constraints of the pixel realm, the atoms wrenched out of their static state and set in motion. The results are smart materials that can be computer-modeled and remodeled into ever-new forms. Radical atoms in the hands of visionary scientists and engineers are being formed into high-tech materials and applications with astounding properties and capabilities. Neuroscience and biotechnology, robotics, hardware and software play roles in this; so do traditional practices in the crafts and trades. A hotspot of these trailblazing developments is the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where Hiroshi Ishii and his Tangible Media Group have been working on new forms of human-machine interaction for over 20 years. The breakthrough prototypes that have been emerging there can now be seen in the Radical Atoms exhibition at the Ars Electronica Center.

“Every pixel is an optical illusion, but nothing real. Our belief is ‘tangibility’. You can directly touch and manipulate and feel.”

Hiroshi Ishii, director of the Tangible Media Group of MIT Media Lab

 

This project is presented in the framework of the European Digital Art and Science Network and co-funded by the Creative Europe program of the European Union.

In cooperation with greiner

Blog

Hiroshi Ishii explains his vision of RADICAL ATOMS on our blog.

Exhibits

cillia@jifei_ou_tangible_media_group_MIT_Media_Lab_590x350

Cillia

Cillia is a means of 3-D printing hair structures. This technical solution constitutes a design innovation that will simplify the production of synthetic fur. Nowadays it seems as if 3-D printers can churn out just about anything—from a sports car to food to human skin. Nevertheless, there are some things that, up to now, have required a huge amount of computational time and power to generate with a 3-D printer.

Read More Cillia
Aeromorph@jifei_ou_tangible_media_group_MIT_Media_Lab_590x350

aeroMorph

aeroMorph investigates how materials stacked in multiple layers can be used to make self-folding origami structures. This project works with a programmable bending mechanism that triggers shape-changing behavior in fabric, paper and plastic.

Read More aeroMorph
KinetiX@jifei_ou_tangible_media_group_MIT_Media_Lab_590x350

kinetiX

kinetiX is a new, transformable material featuring a design that resembles a cellular structure. It consists of rigid plates or rods and elastic hinges. These modular elements can be combined in a wide variety of ways and assembled into multifarious forms.

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PerfectRed_590x350

Perfect Red

Perfect Red represents a clay-like material preprogrammed to have many of the features of Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software. Perfect Red is a fictional material that can be sculpted like clay—with hands and hand tools—and responds according to rules inspired by CAD operations, including snapping to primary geometries, Boolean operations, and parametric design.

Read More Perfect Red
zeron_590x350

ZeroN

What if materials could defy gravity, such that we could leave them suspended anywhere in mid-air? ZeroN is a new physical/digital interaction element that can levitate and move freely, guided by both the human and the computer in three dimensional space.

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Topobo

Topobo

What is it like to sculpt with motion? Topobo is a construction toy with kinetic memory, able to record and playback physical motion.

Read More Topobo
Sandscape

SandScape

SandScape is a tangible interface for designing and understanding landscapes through a variety of computational simulations using sand.

Read More SandScape
MusicBottles

musicBottles

musicBottles is an interactive installation for visitors to interact with soundwaves encapsulated in bottles.

Read More musicBottles
Lift-Bit

Lift-Bit

Lift-Bit is a modular, digitally reconfigurable furniture system that allows a sofa to seamlessly turn into a chair, a chaise longue, a bed, a complete lounge and a myriad of other configurations.

Read More Lift-Bit
inForm

inForm

inFORM is a shape display that gives physical form to digital information. Motorized pins extend from a tabletop to form a physical sculpture that users can view, touch and deform.

Read More inForm
bioLogic

bioLogic

bioLogic is growing living actuators and synthesizing responsive bio-skin in the era where bio is the new interface.

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Active Wood

Active Wood Products

Novel printing and composite material technologies can now overcome previous limitations on wood forming. Flat sheets of customprinted wood composite can be designed to selftransform in controlled and unique ways.

Read More Active Wood Products
Drone-100

Drone 100

The Ars Electronica Futurelab launched its Spaxels (space pixels) R&D program in 2012 and has been enhancing and upgrading the technology ever since. In November 2015, the Ars Electronica Futurelab teamed up with Intel for an aviation feat that set a world record in the category “Most Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) airborne simultaneously.”

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