A metamaterial (from the Greek word μετά meta, meaning “beyond”) is a material engineered to have a property that is not found in naturally occurring materials. Metamaterials are macroscopic composites made up of repeating cellular microstructures that vary in geometry, orientation, shape and size in order to produce complex behaviours. The properties of the object derive from the geometry of its microstructure, rather than the material it is made of. In order to provide a better experience for athletes, companies from the apparel industry like Adidas, Nike and New Balance have been researching metamaterials, addressing specific needs of movement, cushioning, stability and comfort to enable athletes to perform at their best. Through the use of generative design and digital material behavior simulations, the workshop will be investigating material distribution systems that fulfill both structural and functional requirements. The output structures will be robotically 3d printed in a flexible material called TPE and tested for structural performance and bending and shape shifting behavior. The scenarios in which flexible materials can benefit design and architecture range from wind harvesting facades to enhancing the ergonomic and material use in furniture design. The potential can have a big impact in the future of design and building, but unfortunately they have not been extensively researched, and this workshop is a step towards understanding and discovering these new possibilities.
The workshop will be introducing structural optimization and calculation techniques through the Millipede plugin. We will program the robots with the Grasshopper plug-in Robots IO which is a Grasshopper plugin for programming ABB, KUKA and UR robots. The students will learn how to prepare a model for structural calculation, to place the supporting areas, the loads as well as how to visualize the results, deformations and understand the forces that pass through the structure. These simulations will be paired with procedural modelling techniques in Grasshopper that will create repeating cellular microstructures as chunks of material for testing structural and bending behaviors. After digitally testing the modeled structures, the students will split in groups of 4 and will start brainstorming ideas. They will be assisted in employing the newly found metamaterials in digital architectural and design projects. The fabrication phase of the workshop will introduce students to robotic 3d printing. They will learn about robots and extrusion systems, their advantages and constraints, how to prepare the fabrication files taking into account the material, and they will eventually assist in the 3d printing of a prototype for each group.
- Structural analysis with Grasshopper and Millipede
- Robotic programming with Grasshopper and Robots IO & Pufferfish
- Robotic Fabrication and Printing with flexible materials
- Visualization techniques with Keyshot
- McNeel Rhinoceros
- McNeel Grasshopper 3d
- Grasshopper Plug-ins (Robors IO, Millipede, Pufferfish)
- Luxion Keyshot
- Adobe Suite (Photoshop/Illustrator)