In the world of design and fabrication, developers have continually taken on the challenge of recreating physical environments in the digital world so that designers can anticipate how their objects will pan out once they are fabricated. Creating a context for virtually-imagined objects has now become possible with 3D scanning, but of course the rules that form the 3D-scanned environment are subject to many limitations, not least of which the number of contingencies a human could possibly account for. With her Reverberating Across The Divide project, Madeline Gannon of Carnegie Mellon University has torn down these constraints by creating an environment where geometry and time, instead of physics, dominate.
Using a Kinect interface, which allows for sophisticated gestural controls, and a 3D agent generated using open-source software like Processing and Toxiclibs, Gannon created a chronomorphologic modeling environment – one that creates new forms by tracking an object’s movement through space and time. Similar to 19th-century chronophotography, which you may recognize as the early high-speed photography that for the first time tracked a horse’s running gait and a cat’s movement through air, Gannon’s early example of a chronomorphological project used the Kinect interface to drag the form of a squid around the form of a human neck. With the help of a “spring skeleton” that prevents the squid from intersecting with itself (just as an actual solid object can’t), Gannon created a series of stunning studies that show the endless possibilities of a repeated shape.
The complex studies can then be 3D printed as jewelry, as Gannon’s project shows, or as any sort of form that benefits from being constrained by the external world. This is only the beginning of this new field: the only limits are the human imagination. Check out how it works below.