Learning as it Grows: Designing the new ‘STEM’ objects collection

by Assa Ashuach

In 2004, I have presented the Osteon chair, an object with an ‘intelligent’ bone-like internal support structure. At that time, we used a 3D AI algorithm that was placing a structural unit within a 3D voxel grid skeleton. This was one of the only ways to achieve a bespoke optimized internal support structure. Today we all know something similar called ‘Infill’ that is widely available within any FDM slicing application, that is not taking in consideration any design variables.
In a new recent research, I have been looking into the internal 3D geometrical growth of bamboo. I have focused on a very fast growing breed called ‘phyllostachys’ that, depending on a variety of parameters, can grow extremely fast and senses its environment to correct and reinforce itself while growing.
In collaboration with macromolecular and bio material scientists at KIT- Kyoto institute of technology D-Lab in Japan, we have translated the microscopic bamboo’s internal structure into producible 3D structures. Scaled-up by 3000% we can now study the natural geometrical growth patterns of the bamboo, both in terms of structural porosity and its geometrical growth intelligence.
In my talk I will show a variety of process images, renderings and animations from the microscopic bamboo landscapes.
Taking the original geometry into our studio 3D design workflows, we can now modify the original data based upon user ergonomics and or special parameters.
The bamboo is ‘learning as it is growing’. This means that its structural internal 3D morphology is constantly changing and adapting to new environmental conditions, growing differently from section to section based upon a kind of inherited intelligence and sensory systems.
The new ‘STEM’ objects collection were designed using the actual bamboo 3D micro-structure geometry together with my personal aesthetics impressions and a line of 3D automated scripts that are laying the foundations for a new type of personalization, customization, and re-adaptation behaviors.
It is opening the discussion around future industrial design and architecture at both large and small scales, where automated processes will be fed by a combination of human and biological intelligence, designing a new type of tool-path for the robots to follow.

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