SmartGeometry + Generative Components : Parametric CAD

May 5th, 2005 | Filed under: Architecture, Building Tech, Design, Fabrication Tech, Future, Products, Programming | 1 Comment »

The SmartGeometry group (sponsored by Bentley Systems), comprised of Lars Hesselgren (KPF), Hugh Whitehead (Foster and Partners), J Parrish (Arup Sport) and Robert Aish (Bentley), is working on Generative Components technology, a 3-D parametric CAD system similar to CATIA. Parametric systems are essentially real-time self-coordinating systems of information in every view of the model. Parametric systems automatically update entire drawing sets based on changes in the model as small as the placement of a screw or as large as the geometry of the building’s footprint. Generative Components’ uniqueness lies in it’s general geometric scripting core which allows designers to easily create their own tools based on relationships (think spreadsheet for 3-D modeling).

The computational CAD environment which is split into rendered viewports and a diagram of geometric relationships, forces the designer to understand the underlying geometries that generate and modify each surface. By doing so, the constructional logic of complex models is carried through the design and clearly understood in the manufacturing process.

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Engineered Cement Composites : Bendable concrete

May 5th, 2005 | Filed under: Architecture, Building Tech, Fabrication Tech, Materials, News, Products | 47 Comments »

Victor Li, at the University of Michigan has developed a new fiber-reinforced bendable concrete. Li claims his Engineered Cement Composites (pdf) are superior to other fiber-reinforced concretes because his composite not only uses microscale fiber reinforcements, but they have also designed the ingredients to the concrete itself to provide more flexibility. The 40% lighter ECC is also 500 times more resistant to cracking, 37% less expensive, consumes 40% less energy, and produces 39% less carbon dioxide than regular concrete.

via wmmna | Physorg

Quantam Wires : Carbon Nanotube Power Cables

April 28th, 2005 | Filed under: Fabrication Tech, Future, Materials, Nanotech | No Comments »

NASA is funding development of carbon nanotube power cables or quantam wires at Rice University which are 10 times more conductive and 1/6th the weight of copper wire. Quantam wires will replace the copper wires in space shuttles with potential applications varying from space elevator tethers to flat panel displays.

via Wired News

Papercrete : Recycling Paper into Concrete

April 26th, 2005 | Filed under: Architecture, Building Tech, Fabrication Tech, Materials, Products, Sustainability, Urbanism | No Comments »

Living in Paper offers an extensive introduction into “papercrete”, an innovative construction material currently going through testing. The construction material’s performance has several advantages over concrete and uses recycled paper from just about any source as the aggregate.

via Treehugger

Motheye and MARAG : Nano-Scaled Anti-Reflective Coating

April 22nd, 2005 | Filed under: Fabrication Tech, Materials, Nanotech, Products | 1 Comment »

The eyes of moths have evolved to collect as much light as possible without reflection, in order to prevent moths being detected by predators. Motheye and MARAGâ„¢ films mimic this property with nano-scaled bumps reducing reflectivity to less than 1%.

Frounhofer | more info on motheye anti-reflective coating

via Blaine Brownell

Superatoms : Alchemy and the 3-D Periodic Table

April 14th, 2005 | Filed under: Biotech, Fabrication Tech, Materials, Technology | 1 Comment »

Shiv N. Khanna and A. Welford Castleman Jr., and their experiments with Superatoms are about to bring the periodic table into a new dimension, literally. Dmitri Mendeleev’s classic 2-dimensional periodic table elegantly places elements in families and chemical activity. But with Superatoms, a cluster of atoms which can be coaxed into maintaining dramatically different properties, a 3rd-dimension for each element and its new synthetic states would be required. Superatoms open possibilities to develop highly controllable magical materials with applications most likely beyond our imagination.

via New Scientist (full article)| Innovations Report

Extreme Textiles : On View at The Cooper – Hewitt

April 12th, 2005 | Filed under: Design, Fabrication Tech, Materials, Products, Technology | No Comments »

An exhibition, titled Extreme Textiles is now open at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (April 8 – October 30, 2005). The show displays some of the greatest innovations in high performance textiles. Organized in 5 categories (stronger, lighter, faster, smarter, safer), 150+ examples of applications from a prosthetic foot for sprinters to carbon fiber architecture are on view.

via NYT (full article) | Thanks, Neil

Desktop Nanofactory

April 8th, 2005 | Filed under: Design, Fabrication Tech, Future, Materials, Nanotech, Products | No Comments »

Here’s a concept rendering of a desktop nanofactory from the Foresight Institute by John Burch. The white cubes represent the parts of the assembly from the molecular scale to the finished product. Imagine anything. Then print it.

FAB : Gershenfeld's Book on Future Fablabs

April 6th, 2005 | Filed under: Books, Computing, Design, Fabrication Tech, Future, Materials, Programming, Technology, Video | No Comments »

Neil Gershenfeld, the director of the Center for Bits and Atoms at MIT and professor of the widely reported ‘How to make almost anything‘ class, has a book coming out on April 12, 2005 called FAB : The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop–From Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication. In the book Gershenfeld argues that the next revolution is going to happen through the mass deployment of ‘personal fabrication’ laboratories (fablabs).

Watch Gershenfeld speak on C-Span : The Digital Future (1:33:06) and read an interview on Edge.

via FutureWire | Nature

One Minute Battery Charge by Toshiba

March 29th, 2005 | Filed under: Fabrication Tech, Materials, News, Sustainability | 3 Comments »

Toshiba’s new Lithium-Ion Super Charge Battery boasts an 80% capacity charge in 60 seconds and just a few more minutes for a full charge lasting considerably longer than regular lithium-ion batteries.

via The Register