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Leo Huang 637683

‘Second Skin’ Virtual Environment 2013 - Semester 2


Contents Module 1: Ideation -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4 Module 2: Design ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 8 Module 3: Fabrication ---------------------------------------------------------------------15 Module 4: Reflection ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 23 Bibilography ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 26


Module 1: Ideation


Module 1: Ideation Skins&Bones There are two main types of skin and bone systems. The first one has a bone ‘frame’ that support the skin, which provides the function of the object, such as a bat’s wing, or the sun cover on a pram. The second type has balance between the skin and bones to establish the function, such as a tent or a camping chair. There materials doesn’t necessarily have to resemble the traditional idea of skin and bone as long as they provide the tension and compression properties. Laminated glass can be considered as a skin and bone structure as the laminated layer provides the tension while the glass provides compression. The functions of the skin and bone can even be reversed, such as in a bamboo scroll, where the skin holds the bones together, and the bones provides the function of the object.

Other Examples

Camping Chair, suspension bridge, hammock, wall scroll, Bat wings, Airplane, Tension toy, ribbon, snake toy, bow, sail boat, Quarantine tubes, steel reinforced concrete, filter net, flying fox suit, Japanese fan, kite, Ikea laundry basket, Tennis racquet, metal water hose, electric wire, coveyour belt, Bamboo blinds, Sun cover on prams


Module 1: Ideation Sketch Design Ideas Each of the three designs include different situation where ‘skin and bone’ can be applied, as well as diffferent perspective on personal space. The first design emphasize the interaction between the skin and bone componenets. It is attached to the user’s arms and head can be deployed consciously by the user to create personal space armour. The second design is based on the pufferfish and intergrates the body’s natural reaction when upset to set up personal space. The clenching of the fists and the hardening of shoulders controls the components to create a spikey look to repel others. This design emphasize on the structure of the frame work, and the skin component act as an addition to the frame. The third design takes inspiration from Sommer’s idea of different zoning of personal space on different parts of the body, with each ring’s size, location, and angle reflects the zoning of personal space. Structurally, the design focuses on the tension between the skin and the bone components to keep the desired shape.

Design 1: Armour

Design 2: Pufferfish

Design 3: Havok


Module 1: Ideation Experimental Model he model consists of three square frames held together with wires.the tension in the wires allows for each frame to be perpendicular to the other two frames. There is only one continuous wire connected two frames at once, which allows for some degree of movement for the frames. If the connection between the outer and inner frame is taken away, the entire model can be collapsed into a flat surface. If sepearte wires are used to connect each edges, movement is completely restricted.


Module 2: Design


Module 2: Design From Group task Ideas

While the group work didn’t achieve the expected goal, there were some valuable ideas and inspirations. The group work focused on a stationary display that is tailored to demonstrates my own personal space, where and what I am comfrotable with or not. Another focus was on how to represent these zones, such as sharp spikes, transparent materials, and the different effect of colours. An interesting idea was to create a personal space yet not completely blocking or rejecting interaction with others. These ideas influenced the choices in the final product, using red as an intimidating colour, whilst the spiral covers half of the body and exposing the other half to provide a contrast.

Personal Space

Spikes are a good representation for ‘do not touch’. Other methods of repelling people should be explored

Using the flexibility of concertina fold to create a second layer on the upper torso to form a collapsable personal space. This creates personal space without rejecting interaction

Even though personal space is defined to be at 0.45m for intimate zone, 1.2m for friend zone, and 3m for social zone, the exact definition of person space varies for different context as well as for different individuals. For example, it is acceptable to have very little personal space on a crowded place such as peak hour train or NYE celebrations. Each person also has their own definition of personal space. Personally I think I’m a friendly person, and my personal space is roughly 2/3 of the defined personal space. The specific sensitive areas include the private parts, the wasit where I am easily tickled, and my neck.


Module 2: Design Inspiration & Initial Ideation Explosion

Through the group work’s brainstorming, I began to look at what repels people, instead of simply designating a personal space. Explosion is a good way in generating personal space. Not only does the surrounding people feels threatened and instinctively moves away, the explosion also physically push nearby elements away.

This scene from the movie ‘Despicable Me’ demonstrates the effect of explosion on creating spaces

However, Explosion can also be represented less dramatically and dangerously. Explosion in Rhino represents separating joined parts into pieces so each piece can be modified alone. This correspond to idea generated by the painting, where small singular pieces will be pieced together to form a a large final product.

The adaptation of Van Gogh’s painting by Sci-Fi TV show ‘Doctor Who’ gave me inspiration for my first sketch design. The painting showed several smaller explosions that compose the entire explosion. This, linked with the idea of tensigrity structure, resulted in a design that connects several small tensigrity structures to form a larger tensigrity structure.


Module 2: Design Precedent Study Tensegrity Structures can be as simple as having three frame pieces to the complex sphere held together by tension. The one that interestes me the most is the icosahedron structure, which follows a basic rule. It is also intesting to see examples of fabrics replaceing wires to produce a different effect. It is also worth to note that each point are held by at least three other points

Clockwise from top left: -Three strut Tensegrity, the simplest form -Icosahedron tensegrity, the most common form -A rare type of tensegrity where the compression member is curved -Tensegrity network forming a sphere -Icosahedron tensegrity with fabric replacing wires.


Module 2: Design Rhino model and mesh of the body Using a 3D mesh in combination with the Rhino model, it allows me to visualise how the model may position on the body. However, it is not 100% accurate as it doesn’t account for the tension of the elastic bands. Therefore it was used merely as a representation, instead of a fabricating plan. Unexpected changes were added to the final model at the end of module 3, and further enhancements were added between week 10 and 12 to produce the final model. Rhino was used as a tool to make the project easier to picture, however for this particular project, it wasn’t a crucial piece of equipment.

The photos for the 123Dcatch were done outdoors in a quiet park as it was the only clear space large enough. However this means the entire mesh is quite large, and parts of the body is distorted. Further clean ups needs to be done on the rhino mesh, but the general shape of the body can be identified.


Module 2: Design Figuring out a system This system uses one strut from each of the 6 tensegrity to create a larger tensegrity structure This system doesn’t allow for repetition.

Due to the complexity of tensegrity, it becomes unpractical to slowly figuring out how to produce a desired shape. Instead I looked into how to produce a ‘system’ that can be repeated indefintitely. I looked into both creating my own system, as well as adapting existing systems.

This is the chosen system. This system incorporates the perpendicular slotting idea from section and profiling and the x-shape tensegrity structure. The angles of the x-shapes creates the desired shape

Some experiments with creating completely new tensegrity structures resulted in failures

This system incorporates the most common way of connecting three strut tensegrity with iscosahedron, this alllows for the stacking of icosahedron indifinitely in the desired direction


Module 2: Design Sketches The initial idea was to create a representation of an explosion around the body depending on ther personal space zones. This was changed into a spiral around the body, as the body is mostly symmetrical and a spiral would cover eah part of the symmetrical body at least once, and expose parts of the body for comparison. Other tensegrity structures would be attached to the spiral, but it has been blended into sizes and volume instead of attaching items.


Module 3: Fabrication


Module 3: Fabricating Rhino Modeling Since thre is no simple way to create the model on Rhino, I simply created each individual pieces to be cut out from the laser cutter. The first try was an experiment on the angles of the pieces to test the system. Many flaws were found and the second try has significantly improved these flaws.

First lasercutting template

A rhino model is produced to deduct the number of pieces required, and also used as a guide during the making process. However, due to the unexpected tension of the elastic bands, the rhino model is not copmletely accurate.

Second lasercutting template


Module 3: Fabricating Prototype 1 The very first step is to decide on the system to apply. A simple x-strut system was chosen and it was modified to create different angles. The prototype is printed out using laser cutter onto plywood. The holes are filled with split pins, which hold the rubber bands in tensegrity patterns

Three types of x-struts was produced to curve the structure into the desired shape.

One of the main aspect that needs improvement is organising the elastic bands into ordered layers, as well as adding central holes to stablize the structure

The prototype shows for the first time that the system works in real life. However it was unstable, and the building technique had plenty of room for improvement.

Problems encountered:

-choosing th wrong material, (MDF seems to be better quality) -the lack of considering the design as a whole, (gathering materials that compliment each other) lack of system while making, (‘pattern’ in creating, eg which rubber band goes first, angles and direction of the struts) -wrong angles, (the incline should bea changed from 30 to 45 degrees and the inward curve should be changed from 45 to 30 degrees) -Structural weakness, (need to add support to centre of struts or rest on the body) -Angled pieces constantly turning around to form a full revolution, which is against the design of spirals

Twisted elastic bands at certain joints to balance the structure need to be avoided


Module 3: Fabricating Prototype 2 The second prototype improved several aspects of the first. A system was devised to replace the split pins. A third dimension was added to connect the struts vertically. The angles of the struts were modified to create a better curve around the body. Coloured rubberbands were used to reflect on the ‘personal zoning’ idea. However, There was several problems that needs to be addressed. The curvature is still not the same shape as the rhino model. Adding a third dimension to the model increases the complexity of the rubberbands and create a messy network. The original plan included layers of three. However The messy network makes layers of three impossible to achieve. This can be replaced by making the struts slightly larger and therefore create a larger effect in certain areas. The final model will have the wooden parts spray painted black. This will highlight the rubber bands and creating a floating effect. The colours will be changed to only red. This reverse the original idea of having thin wires connecting the struts to make the struts appear to be floating. This is needed because the rubber bands are an essential element to the design.

Centre rubber bands create stability. The split pins are replaced by lasercut I -shape pieces

Experiment with vertical layers allows for new ways to create the desired shape

A system was devised to build the model faster and with better, more regular results.


01. Rhino Template

Module 3: Fabricating Fabrication Process

Several designs of the x-shapes and the joints are designed using rhino to get the exact angles and length. Some parts were reused from the earlier prototypes. Special edge pieces are designed to slot into the shapes to hold the elastic bands. Some pieces are larger than others to create different effects.

02. Lasercutter

This is the result of the laser cutter. Each shape is carefully taken out and grouped together. The edge pieces need to

03. Spray painting

The shapes are spray painted with glossy black spray paint. Black was chosenn to highlight the colour of the rubber band. Each shape initially each have 2 layers of paint. However some shapes were sprayed only once due to the lack of time. The difference is in the shine of the colour. 3 Layers or pretreating the wood would create the ideal glossy effect


04. Assemble Joints

Module 3: Fabricating

The small pieces are slot on to the larger shapes at each of the four corners. These pieces will hold the rubberbands in place. The direction of the rubber bands are against the slot to secure the pieces in place

05. Rubberband layer 1

After trial and errors, it was determined that the centre rubberband needs to be attached first. This prevents the rubberbands from pulling each other, and also add the extra benefit of determining the layour of the pieces. Only red rubberbands are used as it is the colour that is alarming and promotes personal space.

06. Rubberband layer 2 & 3

The outside points of the shapes are joined. Adjacent corners are double looped due to the small distance. Diaganoal rubberbands are the last to put on as they are the outermost layer. Small sections of about 8 - 10 pieces are joined at a time.


07. Adding Vertical layers

Module 3: Fabricating

Similar process for adding vertical layers. However instead of joining the pieces horizontally, the pieces are joined vertically. The x-shape connecting two vertical layers are not angled to ensure the two layers line up perfectly.

08. Joining sections

Small sections are joined to form two larger sections. This allows for easier transportation.

09. Completing

The two large sections are joined together. A quick double check to make sure all the rubberbands are intact.


Module 3: Fabricating Final Product

The Final product can be displayed individually as a sculptural piece or worn on the body. When worn, the model is stationary and display my version of personal space. A spiral wraps around the body, highlighting and protecting body parts that I do not wish to be touched. This is done by increasing the vertical layers, and as a result, the increased number of rubberbands.


Module 4: Reflection


Module 4: Reflection Reflection The process of digital making and computer assisted design gives more freedom to designers to create and explore their options rather than traditional method of fabrication. Digital making was a useful tool to save time, energy and money, hence allowing more time to be spent on the actual design process. It also potentially gives consumer a wider range of products to choose from. A possible future trend could be owning a 3D printer, whereby consumers may purchase designs online and simply print them off using the 3D printer. Throughout this project, I didn’t utilise digital tools to completely design and manufacture my end product. It was used mainly to generate and test ideas, used in conjunction with sketches to demonstrate my understanding of the project. While I did use tools such as Rhino and the laser-cutter to produce parts of the model, they weren’t specifically-designed pieces. The parts were similar to bricks, produced to certain shapes only and to allow for further manipulation, instead of puzzle pieces, where each piece is designed to have a specific purpose. Therefore, the fabricating process was still mainly done manually, and in the end there were many leftover pieces, both of which would be eliminated should the project be completely designed digitally.

“50 years of consistently fiddling around and they have made a daft idea work brilliantly” The end model itself was the result of repetition of a simple technique used to sculpt into a desired shape. The hardest part was understanding and devising a tensegrity structure, as well as designing the general shape of the structure. The fabricating process was time consuming, yet required little thought process and no major fabrication issues were encountered during the prototyping stage. Therefore, efforts were made instead to focus on the detailing of the model. The repetition process of tying rubber bands to create tension allowed me to fine tune the method I used to piece together the structure, where as many other digital designs often lack fine details.


Module 4: Reflection

The detailing and prototype experimenting will be both the uprising and the downfall of digital making. Computer-assisted design allows for experienced designers to study even the smallest parts of their design, and allows for rapid production to prototypes. However, it also may create a problem where designers may publish their designs too fast and skip the detailing or prototyping stage to provide a questionable product with comprimise on function, safety or aesthetics. Prototyping and updating is an important part of any design, as it allows for a better understanding of the product’s ability in the real world. Like TV presenter James May said regarding the design of the Porsche sports cars : ‘for 50 years, Porsche has stuck with the daft idea of a car with the engine at the back, BUT, half a century of consistently fiddling around, and they have made it work brilliantly.’ Similar to the mass production industry, I created my product with repetition and constantly altering the technique to create the best result. Despite the convenience brought by digital making, it is not convincing that digital making may take over the manufacturing business. Whilst the customisability is great, the efficiency cannot be matched by the mass production industry. Many products also require expertise to create and manufacture, for example, even with all the components, it will be hard to manufacture an iPhone. Perhaps the future of the manufacturing industry will evolve into a combination of both, with the industry delivering a product, and the consumer customising the product using digital designing techniques, such as creating an iPhone case for a store bought iPhone. This technique allows for each product to be unique even if they are mass produced.


Bibliography Module 1: Ideation Flexible hose: http://zgbronze.en.made-in-china.com/product/bqlQTuvdESRX/China-1-2-Metal-Corrugated-Flexible-Hose-for-Water-Gas.html Inglesina Classica Pram -http://www.inglesina.com/ tent: http://www.fishingtackleshop.com.au/products/land-and-sea-beach-tent-shelter.html laminated glass: http://www.glass-making.net/laminated-glass.htm Bamboo scroll: http://www.overstock.com/Worldstock-Fair-Trade/Sun-Tzu-Art-of-War-Bamboo-Scroll-China/617379/product.html Bat: http://news.brown.edu/pressreleases/2013/02/robobat

Module 2: Design Despicable Me, 2010. [DVD] Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud, United States: Universal Pictures. Vincent and the Doctor, 2010. [DVD] Jonny Campbell, United Kingdom: BBC. Tensegrity Sails: http://thecreativefinder.com/portfolio-image.php?username=visign&id=2714&filename=PICT0050.jpg&title=tensegrity%20sails Tetrahedron Tensegrity: http://www.tensegriteit.nl/e-tetrahedron.html 3-Strut Tensegrity: http://www.tensegriteit.nl/e-simple.html Tensegrity Sphere: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tensegritywiki/4925703046/ Icosahedron Tensegrity: http://ittcs.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/notes-on-anatomy-and-physiology-getting-the-feel-of-tensegrity/

Module 4: Reflection Top Gear, 2013. [DVD] Andy Wilman, United Kingdom: BBC.


Journal final