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Playing with Human and Computer Interpretation

Xin Hu Chris Massey Catalyst Week 2015

Project Abstracts All spaces afford certain actions; computer vision can interpret human action, which allows for a re-understanding of the potential affordances of the space. While this isn’t an unique idea, applying this by allowing a computers interpretation into the design process is. This can add another layer to site and building understanding through the meshing of computer and human interpretation. Throughout the weeklong exploration ideas surfaced about the speculative uses of computer vision including how the computer understood movement along, through, or in certain spaces or how boundaries, especially implicit ones, are perceived. All of this was to try to understand how computer vision, through taking 2D photos and creating a 3D model, could be used as more than just a representational tool. -Chris Massey

At first, I had no idea what we would do about this project. We just took photos of interesting facades and then put them in Photoscan. After having enough samples, Chris and me found that how these photos were taken was really important to the computer--we used different methods like going along, going through and standing at one point then looking around to take pictures. Results turned out very different. Thus, we started to think about how computers can see what we can’t see before. During the discussion, the idea of “affordance” came up. Things were clearer and we were able to focus on what we were interested. Then we made these 3D models more abstract. We reduced meshes into more simple ones and tried to reinterpret the same pieces of a mesh into a new one so that we could have a further understanding of how same elements could form a different facade with different influence of people. So what I learned in this week is that there is no rush to find a conclusion. Exploring is more important. A computer model is not only a tool to represent something, but also an inspiring resource which make people’s think out of the box. When people think about digital models, they usually consider them as a superficial way to only represent something. In other words, it isn’t creative or provoking. But after working with Photoscan for several days, I found it could be productive rather than being representing. It’s interesting to see how computers look at the world differently with us--trees and walls are both facades, reflective glass is different with reflective metal panels. Also, it depends on how the photos are taken, which means how we experience the space or the facade--by walking through, or by walking along. What’s more, facades are shaping people’s activity. It’s is also called “affordance”. For example, some of these facades “suck” people into buildings, some of them remain people to stay at a certain place. -Xin Hu

Formalizing computer and human interpretation of actions. Sucked through


Formalizing computer and human interpretation of actions.

Using the same pieces from the “remain� affordance model we created a spce with completely different affordances.

Exploring the form of spatial agency.




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