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The Spaghetti Strings. Strings are part of a tennis racquet which make contact with the ball and they form a woven network inside the head of the racquet. They have a dramatic effect on a player’s performance. Strings have been made with materials like nylon, synthetic gut even metal wire, but the natural gut and polyester are used by the most players today. Polyester is a stiff and far much durable string material but can lose tension more easily than the natural gut. Despite that, players feel they are able to apply more topspin to balls while maintaining control with polyester strings. All modern racquets are strung in a cross-hatch pattern (horizontally-vertically). However, in 1971, Werner Fischer, invented the “spaghetti stringing”. His spaghetti racket had 3 planes of non-intercepting strings. The intricate combination of rollers and interlocking ‘spaghetti’ threads allow the strings to deform laterally during impact, storing energy. It generated so much spin on the ball that it was eventually banned by the International Tennis Federation in 1978. One of the problems was that players of relatively low standing were able to beat top players by generating much more spin than the top players could at the time.

MATERIALS PROCESSES EXPLORATION ADAPTATIONS The Mistral racing wheelchair. It has been designed to achieve custom built, lightweight as well as inflexible without compromising power, safety and performance. Manufactured by “Draft Wheelchairs”, is one of the best racing wheelchairs that coming from many years of research and evolution. It is available in an infinite number of alternative configurations looking back to the traditional sitting position and also to todays full solid kneeler with foot pot, designed around the requirements and physique of the athlete, giving the most efficient position for top flight competition.

- Campagnolo high quality cali per brake with DiaCompe adjustable brake level.

I“ feel great and nice to finally be on top!” - Jessica Galli The frames are built from lightweight aluminium for speed and durability are constructed in V, open V or T styles depending on the lower body of each athlete, and foot plates are added if necessary.

Some standards features: -Custom built frame. -Wrap round integral mudguards. -Aluminium side guards. -V, open V or T frame styles. -Top steering V handles with integral computer mount. -Strap adjustable back and seat canvas. -622mm/28’’ or 571mm/26’’ handbuilt rear wheels and 18’’ or 20’’ front spoken wheel with Rouson hubs with Velocity rim and double butted spokes. -Push rims 12’’ to 16’’ in 1/2 increments, 14 stand offs. -Camber 11 to 13 degrees.

The wheels are designed with either stainless steel spokes for rigidity or carbon fibre bracing/disks that weigh less and can increase speed. The camber gives stability to the chair. The chairs are custom built for each athlete with particular attention paid to the seat to allow optimum body positioning.

Shuttlecock. (commonly known as a bird) It is a high-drag projectile, with an open conical shape: the cone is formed from sixteen overlapping feathers embedded into a rounded cork base. The cork is covered with thin leather or synthetic material.

All Together. Some of the products consist of similar materials. For example, polyester is used for the raquet strings, (for spaghetti strings as well) and also for the production of the shuttlecocks.

This is the Carton T800 Synthetic Shuttlecock Speed Slow. A natural cork based shuttlecock with durable synthetic skirt. This type of shuttles is designed specifically for club practise and juniors. The manufacturer is the Carlton Sprots, a leading producer of badminton rackes and shuttlecocks. It was the first which made a one-shot injection molded shuttle skirt.

Some of those materials were used in different ways, in which they have successfully created innovative products, providing a safer and easier life to everyone, including people with certain physical disabilities.

An importand opportunity is offered to people with any leg dissability by this wheelchair in order to be fit, active and find their greatness. A paralympics’ athlete named Jessica Galli states about the chance that the wheelchair gives her: “I feel great and nice to finally be on top!”

They can extend our body parts giving us power and now it’s just the beginning.

Synthetic shuttles are often used by recreational players to reduce their costs as feathered shuttles break easily. These nylon shuttles may be constructed with either natural cork or synthetic foam base, and a plastic skirt. Additionally, nylon shuttlecocks come in three varieties.hese three varieties are known as green (slow speed which will give you an extra 40% hang time/shot length), blue (middle speed), and red (fast speed). The colours, and therefore speeds, are indicated by coloured stri ps fastened around the cork. In colder temperatures, a faster shuttle is used, and in hotter climates, a slower one is chosen. Kleanthis Michail


University for the Creative Arts - Epsom


were produced from silica gels. Transparent superinsulating silica aerogels exhibit the lowest thermal conductivity of any solid known. It is the most common type of aerogel and the most extensively studied and used. Silica aerogel strongly absorbs infrared radiation.

Combining industrial materials with tried as well as tested hand-craft or design techniques, could achieved very interesting and unexpected results which lead towards to innovations.

Their applications:

Kistler’s later work involved aerogels based on alumina, chromia and tin dioxine. Carbon aerogels were developed in the late 1980s. Ultrahigh surface area carbon aerogels power today’s fastcharging supercapacitors.

Aerogels. They are the world’s lightest solid material, composed of up to 99.98% air by volume. They are derived by gels, in which the liquid component has been replaced with gas. Several nicknames of them are frozen smoke, solid air or blue smoke owing to its translucent nature and the way light scatters in the material. Created by Samuel S. Kistler in 1931, aerogels are a diverse class of amazing materials with properties unlike anything else. The first aerogels

- Commercially, aerogels have been used in granular form to add insulation to skylights. - Transparent silica aerogel would be very suitable as a thermal insulation material for windows, significantly limiting thermal losses of buildings. - Their high surface area lead to many applications, such as a chemical adsorber for cleaning up spills. - NASA used aerogel to trap space dust particles aboard the Stardust spacecraft. The particles vaporize on impact with solids, pass through gases, but can be trapped in aerogels. NASA also used aerogel for thermal insulation of the Mars Rover and space suits.

Sea balls or Neptune Balls. These balls are made of matted seaweed fibers, leaves and roots of Posidonia oceanica, a flowering plant which lives in dense meadows or along channels in the sands of Mediterranean.

The organic brown material can be found washed up on beaches. It can be used without any additives as an insulating material with natural fire prevention properties. As it contains hardly any salts and no proteins it does not rot and the fibers are not harmful to the human organism. Posidonia grows best in clean waters, and its presence is a marker for lack of pollution. With thermal conductivity of just 0.037W/(mK), sea balls are highly suitable for building insulation.

Musical Putting or Noisy Jelly. Raphaël Pluvinage and Marianne Cauvard have created a jelly that makes several sounds. A mini chemistry lab allows each player to make jellies, using water, a few grams of agar agar powder and a series of moulds. Different colours can be added to the mix. By touching the jellies, the players can make electronic sounds. The board is a capacitive sensor. It detects the distance and the strength of the finger contact and transforms this into audio signals. With Arduino and Max/Msp.

“This material has the best ecological balance and the best storage capacity of all insulation materials. NeptuTherm ® is ideal due to its fantastic properties for insulation of roofs, facades, walls, floors and ceilings in renovations and new construction of residential buildings.” -NeptuTherm ®

- The thermal insulation of the attic floor / ground storage. - Insulation. - Roof insulation. - Internal wall insulation. - Sound insulation in wood-beamed ceilings. - Insulation of framed structures / timber frame / prefabricated houses from wood.

Kleanthis Michail

A formula of dry concrete is contained in the cloth, that allows the fabric to keep its flexibility for two hours before setting quickly. When the material is still flexible, it can be easily cut to shape, fixed into complex curvatures using basic fixings. The cloth is claimed to be heat resistant up to high temperatures.It is used in furniture design, complex curved roofing, public sculpture, and digital printing design.

Evaluation. Combining industrial materials with tried and tested hand-craft or design techniques, could achieved very interesting and unexpected results which lead towards to innovations and new experiences.

These natural sea balls are sold as a commodity under the brand name NeptuTherm.

Its applications:

Concrete Cloth/Canvas. Cement impregnated flexible fabric that hardens upon addition of water to form a thin, durable, waterproof and fireproof concrete layer.

Luminoso. Between thin wooden panels there are fiberglass mats layered and bonded using PU glue. The surface is completely sealed. The choice of wood, space between layers, and strength of the luminous fabric can influence the degree of light permeability. The wood used for backlit paneling and dividers in interior spaces and trade fair stands must be absolutely flawless, so as not to disturb the overall impression. A picture that is placed behind the composite panel will be transferred to the other side once it is lit from the rear. Also films can be projected. 2/4

Nature is there, offering all its products and materials to people in order to create staff, to achieve many graphic works and structures and make life easier, safer and joyful. Wood, grass, metal, light, glass, liquids, concrete, gas could be combined differently to produce a new fact, a new science. Researching those materials, felt like I was practising experiments that I have never been involved with. I can imagine how difficult was that for designers and scientists but also how much they enjoy it when the final successful results came out.

University for the Creative Arts - Epsom

SEA/ NEPTUNE BALL PROPERTIES. Research and experimental processes based on the functionalities of the material.

For nature, sea balls are a sign of clean, unpolluted sea water and beaches. It is safe material as well, not only because it can be used without any additives as an insulating material, but it also does not contain any salts and proteins - does not rot and its seaweed fibers are not harmful to the human organism. The movement of the waves is the reason of the round structure of these little balls and in that way it can be easily mani pulated.

Due the fact that sea/Neptune ball cannot be found in UK I tried to create similar balls. Interesting outcomes came out from several experiments based on the sea ball’s properties’; instead on the material itself.

Experiments - Materials. Leaves, Fibers, Edible Vegetable, Paper, String

Experiments - Materials. Sponge, Cotton, Lentils, Water

Process. Balls made by similar-shaped materials to the original sea ball’s materials.

Process. Lentil roots will grow in the shape of the sponge(round). Natural shaping of ball of roots.

Initial Ideas. Insulated pet house. (made by wool, paper, leaves)

Initial Ideas. Insulated Ear-phones. (sound insulation) Sponge with flower. (water/moisture sensor, light, charged with sunlight)

Research on insulation. Neptune Balls are used for building insulation. The majority of insulation in buildings is for thermal purposes. Neptune Balls is a non-structural form insulation like Spray Foams, Fiberglass batts, Cotton batts and blankets and natural fibers such as Cork, Cotton, Flax, Mineral wool, Recycled tissue/clothes and Sheep Wool. Research on devises for clean evnironment. Air-Cleaners/Purifiers, Moisture / Water Cleaners, Floor Cleaners. The plant “Posidonia Oceanica” cannot be found in polluted water. This is a very interesting fact that will help to develop and expand my ideas for creating a new device or interface. Initial Ideas. Automatic Air-cleaner. (charged with sunlight)

Kleanthis Michail


University for the Creative Arts - Epsom

Representing the”’ final outcome.

This is a “green” device, friendly to the environment. You can use it as a flower pot, hung from the roof or anything without taking much space. The sponge has the ability to store water without letting it drop on the floor. Inside the sponge, there is a sensor that detects water or moisture. This sensor is connected with a light bulb and also with sunlight charging batteries.

“Illuminated Plant” - An interactive pot which communicates with people and informs about the water supply of the plant.

When the plant of the sponge needs water the light bulb turns on, warning the user to water the plant. The plant is a natural air filter by itself using plant-base air purification (using the metabolic properties of plants).

First experiment. A thick string was used to hold the sponge, to make a knot in the centre of it. When the sponge with the flower is hung, it will be balanced. Second Experiment. The light was used according the sketches that were made. However, it was not convenient to place the light bulb on the top. It was also not so aesthetic used in that way. So, the light was placed inside the sponge and then the effect that came out was very interesting and quite beautiful. Third Experiment. At first, white light was used. But then I tried to see the result of using red light. The result was again very interesting. The lights are waterproof so it is safe to water the plant.

Final Piece - Evaluation. Starting the experiments according to my first idea, the result was different but more effective than what was expected. This is the magic of experimentation. For this final piece, the lights are placed inside the sponge, not on the top of the wire. Everything is now happening in there. The sensor detects water and according to its findings the light turns on white or red. The plant does not need water when the light is white. But when the sponge becomes red, it means that you have to water your plant. In that way, the sponge can be used as a light bulb for indoor spaces! The water does not leak from the sponge. You can also add some cotton or other vitamins for the plant if it is needed.

Kleanthis Michail


University for the Creative Arts - Epsom

Proposal for “Illuminated Plant” At first sight, the “Illuminated Plant” looks ordinary; a lit plant on a sponge. It is something more complex, but not difficult to own or maintain. It is an interactive pot, which in a way communicates with people, giving information about the plant, while it is hung from the roof without taking much space. The “Illuminated Plant” can fit many styles and environments; both indoor and outdoor. It’s a “green” device, friendly to the environment and intriguing to the eye. It consists of a special lightened sponge, a water detector, rechargeable sunlight batteries, and of course, a plant. All parts are fully recyclable. The sponge is able to withhold water, without letting it leak. A hidden water detector connected with Led lights to the sponge, sends information about the water level. When the plant needs watering, the light turns red. This prompts the user to water the plant, before it withers. When the sponge obtains enough water, the light becomes bright white. The more the plant stays without water, the redder the colour turns. Likewise, white is at its brighter when the plant is fully watered. This, not only makes it a beautiful and extraordinary light bulb, but it also bonds the user to the plant itself. As this is a natural air filter that uses plant-based air purification through its metabolic properties, the user can add some cotton or vitamins to the plant when needed. Additional seeds may be added from time to time, as the old one dies. It requires only a little effort and devotion, in order for the plant to survive. The Illuminated Plane can be used for both as a decorative and an educational instrument, due its innovative and simple functionality. One of the experiments I have produced for this Design Museum project was lentil roots on a sponge. This simulated the device with the shape of the Neptune/Sea ball, which is the material I have chosen to base the project on and reach to a final outcome; in that case the “Illuminated Plant”. The initial idea was to use the Neptune/Sea Ball, but this proved to be difficult, as it can only be found in the Mediterranean Sea. Therefore, I studied its properties and experimented with them; instead of using the material itself. While developing this experiment, I came across to the idea of lentils planted on sponge using strings, cotton, white and red light bulbs, as well as water. This resulted to a round shape with water insulation. The most important aspect of this idea that kept me going was to create something that was friendly to the environment and could be used by people of all ages, for many purposes; educational, decorative, environmental. Based on this thought, I drew some first sketches of the product and combined the materials in various ways. Then, I worked on several experiments in order to test how they could interact with each other. Finally, I concluded to this combination of materials and procedures, as they proved to be the most effective, simple, low-cost, interesting and unique.

Kleanthis Michail

University for the Creative Arts - Epsom

Design Museum Project Folios & Proposal  

University for the Creative Arts. Folios about my Illuminated Plant for the Design Museum's project.