Yes, look for a new SPM Vector components upload on Monday (maybe Tuesday…). We’ve implemented a Collision dynamic that works with any collection of surfaces, and a much needed scale and velocity fall-off dynamic customizing the granularity of the simulation. We’ve also broken out Acceleration as its own component, which cleans things up visually, and created subcategories in the Dynamics for 3d and 2d (any surface) forces…
AND, we’ve started up work on the Dragonfly project. I posted some screenshots of this component (isovist, intentionality, geometry simulation thing…) on the Grasshopper forum a couple of months ago, but I was never totally convinced that Grasshopper was the right platform for it. So, after much thought and discussion, we will be implementing it as a Rhino and possibly Revit plugin that calls up a standalone simulation environment. I’ll post some progress shots as soon as possible, but our release date is mid October.
Dragonfly will be presented at ACADIA 2011 in Banff, Canada.
A few years ago, a major driver for research in architectural geometry was the growing gap between what was imaginable and what was buildable. With big advancements in the design and construction of freeform surfaces, parametric models, and live physics engines, that gap has been considerably lessened. However, these days, I see the same kind of gap growing between that which is buildable and that which is useable.
Our methods of evaluating the usability of designs, even if they are a result of real-time-sensory-input-fed-into-a-genetic-algorithm-that-optimizes-some-structural-property, are very much based on human intuition and previous experience. Now, I am very much in favour of preserving and developing the role of intuition and experience in this digital design age, but I can’t help but feel the similarities to the problems that engineers faced when confronted with a doubly curved surface not five years ago.
Motivated by this, Mike Braund, a Ph.d candidate at York University, and I have been exploring the potential of using ecological psychology to quantify, in some way, the usability of digital designs. So far, we have managed to implement a rudimentary version of ecological psychology into the Grasshopper environment as a proof-of-concept, but we need to seriously rethink the code in order to develop the idea further. Ultimately, we are trying create a simulation environment that can quantify and inform the design of architectural spaces based not only on the intention of the designer, but also the intentions of the user.
Here’s a plot of a 2×20 agents starting from different points, with different goals, interacting with a floor plan. When you take a way the plan, the density diagram is pretty interesting!