MIT Media Lab Enlists 6,500 Silkworms to 3D Print a Dome Pavilion

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
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Silkworms gather atop the pavilion (Steven Keating/Courtesy Mediated Matter)

Silkworms gather atop the pavilion (Steven Keating/Courtesy Mediated Matter)

A new pavilion created by the Mediated Matter research group at MIT’s Media Lab explores the intersection between material technology, computation, and biological and digital fabrication on an architectural scale. Inspired by the silkworm’s ability to create a 3D cocoon out of a single, 1 km thread, a team of researchers led by architect Neri Oxman created a fibrous, CNC-fabricated scaffold made from 26 polygonal panels and laid out in silk thread. They then let loose 6,500 silkworms onto the frame to fill in the gaps and reinforce the structure.

Watch the worms at work in a video after the jump.

Dissecting Natural Design at the LA Natural History Museum

West
Monday, March 18, 2013
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(Sam Lubell/ AN)

Staggered rocks contain plant life that sprout from their many in between spaces. (Sam Lubell / AN)

On Saturday I moderated one of two AIA/LA-sponsored panels about bio-inspired design at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum. The first panel looked at the general influence of nature on design, from the Mars Rover to the San Diego Zoo, and ours zeroed in on architecture’s envelopes and skins, with insights about breaking away from the static, heavy, and largely-unresponsive architecture of today by architect Tom Wiscombe, Arup engineer Russell Fortmeyer, and evolutionary biologist Shauna Price. Speaking of bio-inspired design, before the panel I got an early look at the new gardens at the Natural History Museum, designed by Mia Lehrer + Associates.

Continue reading after the jump.

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