Matter and Knowledge Among Digital Communities

Paper presented at the Intelligent Environments for Creative Learning Workshop, 9th International Conference on Intelligent Environments, Athens, Greece, July 2013.

Co-author: Georgios Adamopoulos

Vision

Following the hypothesis that consumers of personal fabrication devices will soon be producers of their own goods and consequently, administrators of a de-centralized model of production, contemporary material culture is facing a unique potential: the opportunity of knowledge about fabrication techniques and technologies to come down to the end of the users, effectively rendering them knowledgeable administrators of this new model of de-centralized production and the technological mediums that it entails. Matter and Knowledge Among Digital Communities is a proposal for an educational project that incorporates creative learning within the process of rapid prototyping and computational fabrication. It focuses on the concept of material performance and how it can be assimilated by users in order for them to depart from the state of the consumer and become actual producers of computationally fabricated artifacts, empowered with the knowledge of the technologies they are using.

 

Method:

Embedding Collective Intelligence into Design Tools

Inspired by crafting environments considered ‘intelligent’ due to their responsive results, mostly achieved using empirically-oriented methods, this project structures the creation of a new digital environment, this time in the age of scientific, technological and computational applications. Based on interdisciplinary resources on crafting materials and methods, the proposed environment acts both as a design tool and a knowledge-propagation model among digital communities: simulating the complex behaviors and properties of matter through a user-friendly, real-time computer interface, it educates and assists users in the creation and manipulation of their personal artifacts, optimized to local conditions and needs.

 

By Front-End, a computer interface is designed, translating complex scientific data into a language meaningful to- and comprehensible by- users with little design experience. Scientific data are embedded into the users’ digital models. Through the infusion of digital information, these models are associated with material properties, displaying simulated behaviors and dynamically and realistically responding to users’ design actions. These information-bearing digital entities enable users to come in contact with the scientific data through creative interplay and experimentation with digital matter and more importantly, through the immediate visual outcome of their actions and design decisions. Such repetitive digital trial & error processes, lead users not only towards the design of better products, but also help them develop a tacit feel about matter and structure, making increasingly wiser choices the longer they experiment with the proposed system. 

 

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