Prototyping the betentacled, inflatable soft robots of zero gee

The MIT Media Lab’s Spatial Flux Project was created by Carson Smuts and Chrisoula Kapelonis to imagine and prototype soft inflatable robots that would be designed to operate in zero-gee, where there is no up or down and “we do not have to contend with architecture’s greatest arch-nemesis, gravity.”

Their work is a set of shoes-on-a-snake weird pneumatic tentaclebots are brilliant and Gigeresque.

In the City Science group, we explore the diversity of formal arrangements necessary to accommodate the spatial gradients of our lives—at work, rest, and play. We are in the process of developing a full-scale, multi-modal kinetic space (escPod); the moment the human body surrenders itself to space is our inspiration: sitting at a desk, lounging on a couch, or in a deep slumber.

How do we define surface architecturally when our current gravity-based vocabulary was not born of zero gravity and will not suffice? What opportunities can this state of flux provide for architects when designing for the body? Architects are married to an XY (north/south) cartesian grid, with Z (gravity) being the main point of reference for many architectural elements. We would like to force ourselves to imagine these elements without an XYZ reference, rethinking our descriptions of them.

Spatial Flux: Body and Architecture in Space [Carson Smuts and Chrisoula Kapelonis/MIT Media Lab]

(via JWZ)