//thedeadpixelproject and Andrei Smolik
King St Spatial Mechanism
Public space is an increasingly contested ground, in which technology can function as both organiser and destabiliser. The availability of cheap, open source, hardware and software, and the resources to exploit it provides a unique opportunity for engagement from parties outside of traditional institutions. A key question for us is - how can designers take advantage of this?
The Ambient Space Machine is an experiment that attempts to investigate the implications of architectural objects with agency. If our environment is able to track and react to our behaviour, how might an architectural insertion operate as an interface between public actors, as well as digital and physical spatial systems?
Ambient Space Machine observes the space which it occupies. It is looking for movement, location relative to other objects and traces of actors as they navigate exhibition space. The machine activates timing motors connected to its legs, beginning a mediated dance, tracing out the pulse of exhibition movement and density. Ambient Space Machine aspires to transcend traditional notions of static architectural form by shifting its state in relation to context. Transforming between states of subtle ambience and playful interaction, the work aims to develop a “personality” by experimenting with choreographed responses that are appropriate to situations without being directly causal.
The object itself is made out of internal skeleton that manipulates an external membrane. As the machine senses nearby behaviour it reacts to it by actuating three robotic legs. This causes the skin to slowly undulate, the patterns and speed of these varying over time. The internal structure also contains an LED matrix allowing a second layer of communication by shifting the colour of the translucent skin. The brain of the machine is an Arduino controller with a wireless transmitter. The eyes of the system are a separate unit comprised of a hacked Playstation eye camera connected to a computer running a custom application that processes the camera input and determines how to respond to the interactions occurring in the space.