Cyber-Physical Vibration Structure
Cyber-Physical Vibration Structure is a 1:1 interactive installation that investigates the concepts of cyber-physical systems. Users can interact with the installation by vibrating the physical structure, as well as switching on and off the internal vibration motors. The installation reacts to vibrations of the structure and communicates the vibration data in real-time to 3D visual graphics projected onto projection screens. These projection graphics are viewed through Active Shutter 3D glasses to create a 3D spatial experience.
The spatial projection graphics are in sync with the physical construction, creating a juxtaposition of physical and digital realities. As the vibration of the physical structure increases, it also increases the vibration speed of the digital elements. The background color shifts from blue to red according to the vibration speed. Once the structure reaches its maximum vibration speed, warning signs and buzzing sound start appearing to indicate the maximum vibration limit. Here, the user will need to stop the vibration and allow the structure to slowly return to its idle state.
The investigation of this project began from the integration of vibrating structures with sensor modules. A series of motors with an asymmetrical weight attached were embedded within the installation structure to generate vibration forces. As the user interacts with the physical components of this installation, the intensity of the vibration is measured by a 3-axis accelerometer sensor and transferred to the computer through the serial connection. The data is gathered and processed using the Arduino IDE software, it is then streamed into Unity 3D for post-processing. A haptic digital graphic is generated from this process, which reacts in real-time with the physical vibrations of the installation. The physical construction consists of two components, the interactive vibration structure and the projection screen.
The vibration structure is constructed with carbon fiber rods in combination with 3D printed nylon joints. The high-tension carbon fiber rod is flexible and worked effectively in transmitting vibration. Each rod is held together with a 3D printed black nylon connector, which conducts the vibration energy between the structure. Both the rod and joints are intricate and strong. They are fine in size and become almost invisible from a distance. Like a vertical spiderweb, the installation reveals itself as you walk closer to it.
The vibration structures are built upon a reflective base, using clear acrylic sheet cladding on top of flat black MDF base. The acrylics surfaces reflect and mirror the constructed structures. This creates an illusion that the rod structure extends below the base of the installation. Behind the installation structures are the projection surfaces held together by steel scaffolding framing. The surface for projection is made from three vertical sheets of tracing paper, giving a strong and uniform illumination while casting a soft light onto the structure.
The Cyber-Physical Vibration Structure installation operates in between the realms of engineering, architecture and art. It demonstrates how sensors, actuators and digital data can be combined with architectural designs to create a dynamic spatial user-experience.
The University of Auckland
School of Architecture and Planning
26 Symonds Street, Auckland, New Zealand
Assoc. Prof. Uwe Rieger