Ruairi Glynn is an installation artist who also directs the Interactive Architecture Lab at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. He and collaborators William Bondin and Francois Mangion have been creating adaptive structures called MORPHs, short for Mobile Reconfigurable Polyhedra.
Imagine playgrounds where the structures are able to move or rearrange themselves! These robotic MORPH structures can move from one place to another autonomously or they can be guided towards a specific location through tactile input from users. They can also be controlled wirelessly and onboard GPS modules can be used to define a boundary for the MORPHS to operate in.
As you can see in the video below, individual MORPH robotic units are currently made of twelve actuated struts, which when extended will shift the center of gravity of the entire structure, leading it to roll over in a specific direction.
This movement happens relatively slowly, providing enough reaction time for the people around it to stay clear from its path. Each MORPH also has embedded pressure sensors within the rubber joints which provide it with information about its orientation, whether it is about to encounter an obstacle, or if there is someone swinging from it or trying to push it.
Museum and playground designers could easily take advantage of this sort of emerging technology to create spaces where the physical design elements are changable and adaptable instead of fixed in place. I love the idea of physical environments that can respond in interesting and unexpected ways to users!
Click on these links to find out more about the MORPH project and Ruairi Glynn.
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