Computing with matter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The use of open-source microcontroller platforms in building design facilitates new responsive building systems and intelligent facades. Adaptive designs and intelligent spaces are at the forefront of the current architectural and artistic discourse. They engage users in interactive dialogue, allow for public domain authoring, and are critical factors in sustainable designs where buildings monitor their own performance and respond to environmental factors. This course explores the intersection of microcontroller-based physical computing with emergent material technologies. The presenters take a step further beyond current electronic paradigm and discuss the impact of smart materials on the electronically dominated world of computing. Smart materials not only complement or replace the need for electrically operated sensors or actuators, but can also eliminate microcontrollers altogether. Since in this arrangement the material itself takes on computational functions, sensing and actuation are processed locally and on an as-needed basis. Material-based computation can be achieved on very small scales (nanoscale) and can be truly embedded and ubiquitous within our built environment. The material response is direct and exhibits an extremely high-resolution. At the same time, the software-hardware integration inherent in smart-material computing sets limitations for dynamic readjustment of behavioral properties and functional configurations. In most instances, smart materials are specifically designed to perform a particular function within well-defined trigger conditions. However, these trigger properties are not easily re-configurable once integrated into building assemblies. This course will look at various ways in which performative materials can respond in an environment that is controlled by, and interfaced with the digital realm. Participants will be introduced to a range of nanotech-enabled emergent and smart materials that can respond to changes in their environment. They will also learn principles of feedback-based interactions that are essential for the realization of adaptive spaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSIGGRAPH Asia 2013 Courses, SA 2013
StatePublished - 2013
EventSIGGRAPH Asia 2013 Courses, SA 2013 - Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Duration: Nov 19 2013Nov 22 2013

Publication series

NameSIGGRAPH Asia 2013 Courses, SA 2013


OtherSIGGRAPH Asia 2013 Courses, SA 2013
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
CityHong Kong

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Software


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