menu

Shape-Shifting Wall Morphs With Touchscreen Gestures

culture

Motion-sensing technology lets you change the shape of Breathing Wall 2.0 with a swipe, tap or click.

Vashti Hallissey
  • 30 june 2014

Imagine you could control your physical environment in the same way that you control a smartphone, swiping, clicking and dragging to alter what you see. That’s what University of Southern California PHD student Behnaz Farahi has created in her latest project Breathing Wall 2.0. It’s a kinetic wall that changes shape in response to gestures you would normally make on a mobile.

Behnaz designed this interactive space to explore the possibility of creating an empathetic relationship between people and their environment.

“Mobile devices already use techniques based on touch-and gesture-based languages – swiping, clicking, dragging and so on – as a natural, intuitive mechanism of control. But can these techniques be used to control entire environments?” she explains in her mission statement.

Breathing Wall 2.0 consists of PVC pipes inside a wooden frame and covered in a kind of skin of stretchable fabric. The wall is connected to a Leap Motion, a motion-sensing computer game controller that recognizes certain hand gestures such as swiping, clicking and tapping. This information is passed onto an Arduino micro-controller, which changes the position of the pipes in response. Behnaz used real time projection mapping on the fabric to emphasize the wall’s surface topography.

The combined effect of a motion-controlled structure, a fabric that stretches and shrinks as it changes shape and the shadows across its surface is of a wall that has a life of its own. Even if you understand the technology behind it, there’s a magical quality to a space that can sense your presence and respond to your every move.

Behnaz believes that we will be able to communicate intuitively with the living environments of the future.

“The living environment of future will have an understanding of its users and respond accordingly with dynamic interactive architecture. The intermediary mechanism between user and the environment would have disappeared to the background,” she told PSFK.

She also imagines that mind-controlled environments could be a possibility, removing the need for gestures and responding directly to our thoughts.

“I think the interaction with physical environment could be minimized to a direct interface. To the point that the distance between mind/body of the user with the surrounding environment would be blurred, to the point that you can’t discuss where the body ends and the environment starts,” she told us.

There are many dynamic architects who, like Behnaz, are challenging our preconceived ideas of built environments as immutable.

Earlier this year, Frank Barkow and Regine Leibinger created a ‘breathing wall’ exhibited at the Venice Biennale that creates “peaks and valleys” through mechanical undulation. Thibault Sld, a Canadian interactive objects designer, created a wall installation that flutters at the sight of passersby. And Alice Labourel from Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture created a concept for a ballet school that would come alive based on the movement taking place inside of it.

As the Responsive Architecture trend takes off, the idea of buildings as solid and static is on its way out. Technology is being used to create shape-shifting spaces that can respond to our bodies and minds.

You can find out more about Responsive Architecture here.

Breathing Wall 2.0

[h/t] Fast Co.Exist

culture
Trending

Get A Better Idea Of How You Are Wasting Your Time

Mobile
Work Today

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: The Desk Is Becoming An Ecosystem Of Satellite Workstations

Our Future of Work vision is an app that frees employees from the tyranny of a static desk

Work Today

Editorial Roundtable: What A People-First Workplace Must Prioritize First

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX on why employee fulfillment is a journey and not a destination

Trending

Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Retail: Technology Primer

See All
Food Today

A Tiny Amount Of This Powder Could Block All The Bitterness In Food

A new substance made from mushrooms can bond with taste receptors on your tongue to overcome unpleasant flavors

Asia Today

Whimsical Dental Clinic Design Aims To Calm Patient Fears

Cheerful colors and a nod to the comforts of home are design elements tactfully aimed to help people relax

PURPLELIST EXPERTS

Courtney Lapin

Shopping Mall & Retail Innovation

Mobile Today

Messenger Service Only Delivers You Updates Three Times A Day

Formal is a new app designed to help people ignore the constant stream of texts from their phone and focus on what's in front of them

Design Today

Movable Vacation House Constructed Using Concrete Boxes

The 4,000 square foot building is made up of modular frames so it can be relocated if needed due to coastline erosion

Design Today

Redesigned Electric Fan Collapses For Easy Storage

Conbox can be kept in pieces and packed away when not in use

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed august 25, 2016

Retail Expert: What Sustainability Means To The Millennial Generation

Jo Godden, Founder of RubyMoon, discusses how brands can limit their environmental impact worldwide

PSFK Labs august 25, 2016

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: How The Nurturing Of Seeds Will Come To Define The Onboarding Process

Our Future of Work vision is a service that allows companies to assemble and deliver welcome packets that are uniquely focused on the concept of growth

Ai Today

LawyerBot Is Now Helping Homeless People Qualify For Government Housing

This robot helps people get out of parking tickets and provides free legal advice to those in need

Travel Today

This Head Hammock Promises The Best Sleep You’ll Ever Get While Traveling

NodPod holds your neck and back perpendicular, hopefully putting an end to sleepless and uncomfortable journeys

Culture august 26, 2016

London Telephone Box Repurposed As A Tiny Mobile Repair Shop

Tools and supplies to replace broken screens or damage are neatly stowed away in these micro-workrooms

Design august 26, 2016

Conceptual Sportswear Created Out Of Futuristic Condom Material

A Dutch fashion designer is experimenting with new methods and fabrics to make high performance clothing

Fashion august 26, 2016

Fashionable Tassel Will Ensure You Never Lose Your Valuables Again

The device is fashion meets connected tech, that will help you keep track of your belongings at all times

INSIGHTS COVERAGE

Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games
READ NOW

Syndicated august 26, 2016

Would You Wear Wool Shoes To Save The Environment?

As demand for wool shoes grows, a number of US footwear brands are heading directly to the source: the sheep pastures of New Zealand

Sustainability august 26, 2016

Self-Healing Material Is Fashioned Out Of Squid Teeth

Penn State researchers have devised a new textile that uses organic proteins

No search results found.