How Does Technology Aid The Creative Process: PSFK Interviews The Owner Of Haptic Labs

Emily Fischer speaks about the way the technology helps her to achieve the scope and detail involved in her various projects.

reNEWable Times Square, Haptic Lab

PSFK recently interviewed Emily Fisher of Haptic Lab to learn more about her inspiration and use of technology in realizing her visions.  Haptic Lab is a small design studio in Brooklyn that creates products, spaces and situations to promote embodiment. The word haptic refers to the sense of touch, and everything they design is meant to inspire meaningful connections through the tactile.

Emily, what is your favorite CAD project you have performed to date?

My favorite CAD-driven project was a concept proposal for the reNEWable Times Square competition in 2010.

What was the inspiration for this project?

I wanted to turn Times Square into a giant, fragmented sundial. Times Square sort of functions as the psychic agora of American culture, and I wanted to somehow build a connection to the physical passage of time… a ‘Times Square Henge’ where visitors could measure time with their bodies and cast shadows.

How did using Autodesk software help aid this creative process?

I did most of the local building height and cast shadow analysis in 3DS Max Design, which allowed me to predict the locations of shadows in Times Square throughout the day and year. I built the entire space of Times Square on my computer, modeling the sun angles in a very precise way. I then built 2-dimensional ray diagrams in AutoCAD that became the patterned zones of the proposed installation, indicating time with painted shadow marking lines.

reNEWable Times Square, Haptic Lab

What’s your favorite AutoCAD modeling tool?

I feel like I’m shooting flies with a tank with most CAD tools… but CAD is a great problem-solver, even if I’m only using the tippy-top of the software’s iceberg of capabilities. My favorite tool is the software’s ability to communicate across platforms and programs: import and export. If I can’t negotiate a difficult design task in one program, AutoCAD can undoubtedly do it.

reNEWable Times Square, Haptic Lab

Can you give us an example of how these features have helped you in your creative process?

The great thing about AutoCAD is that it allows you to comfortably shift between 3D and 2D applications very easily: it’s a translator. I can start a model or drawing in any number of programs, then shift back to AutoCAD to clean up and finalize a drawing or model using the application’s high degree of specificity. AutoCAD has been essential to the development of the quilted maps I make, which are translated to a somewhat primitive computer-guided sewing machine but designed down to the 1/10,000 of an inch.

This post was created with the kind support of AutoCAD 2012

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