Nefeli Manoudaki's profile

AlloPlex: Hydnum [Fabrication Process]

UCSB_MAT | Computational Fabrication | S_22
Instructor: professor Jennifer Jacobs 
Teaching Assistant: Mert Toka
Students: Nefeli Manoudaki, Iason Paterakis

the "Hydnum" fabrication report
A research exploration on the relationship between a nonlinear modular system and transmodal environments.

Brief Project Description: ​​​​​​​
This project refers to our ongoing research project named "Alloplex: Hydnum". Hydnum is a research collaboration between UCSB MAT's transLAB, SBCAST, and BIOPAC Inc. and explores the relationship between human biodata and immersive environments related to smell, extended reality (XR), sound, and fabricated artifacts. The project is based on the Circumplex Model of Affect by Russell, a widely accepted research approach that maps emotions on a two dimensional axis system, with the horizontal axis representing valence and the vertical axis representing arousal [1]. We utilized this system as a basis for mapping and generating several stimuli (olfactory, sound, visual) allowing for a basic understanding of the model of Affect and its possible expansion. The system starts receiving the user’s Heart Rate and Variability values through research-grade electrodes [2] which run on BIOPAC's Acqknowledge software, then translates and finally transmits the data stream through Cycling 74's MAX Msp to different systems that rely on Unreal Engine 4 and 5, Processing, Arduino, and MADMapper.

The first results of the research have been exhibited during the End of the Year Show of the Media, Arts, and Technology Program, of University of California, Santa Barbara. The first event took place in Elings Hall on Dec 27, 2022 and the second event was held at the Santa Barbara Center of Arts and Technology (SBCAST) on June 2nd, 2022. The project members are: Nefeli Manoudaki, Iason Paterakis, Pau Rosello Diaz, Diarmid Flatley. The project has been accomplished under the supervision of professor Marcos Novak (director of transLAB). Alan Macy was a contributor and collaborator. The components for the main piece-artifact have been designed and assembled during the course MAT 238, for the Spring quarter of 2022. The professor/ instructor of this course is professor Jennifer Jacobs (director of Expressive Computation Lab) and the Teaching Assistant was Mert Toka. 

Motivation: 
The motivation for exploring this field lies in the investigation of cross-sensory relationships between different mediums. A wide range of virtual and physical spaces could potentially benefit from these kinds of explorations, considering the impact of olfactory stimuli in human experience and the perception of a place. This research explores the relationship between Extender Reality and Biodata.

​​​​​​​Fabrication Process and Challenges:

The middle structure consists of six scent delivery modules and other components of the prototype scent delivery system [3]. Our intention was to fabricate modular paradigms that can augment the plain function of each module by promoting the emergence of a larger spatial interactive sculpture with the ability to transmit scents based on the user's prerecorded or emotions. The collection of the fabricated structures has been utilized to support an expansive system of tubes, strings, and brackets, which emerge from the six scent modules and expand in the surrounding space to introduce a prominent tree-shaped structure. The artifact adopts the characteristics of a nonlinear network, which is usually referred to as "Rhizome" after the Ancient Greek word "ῥίζωμα", "rhízōma". [4,5] 

Most pieces have been generated procedurally in several different software tools, because of the complexity of the project. Some have been designed using more traditional processes in CAD tools. Grasshopper in Rhino, Sketchup, AutoCAD, and Geometry nodes in Blender are the main software tools we used to prototype and finalize the fabricated pieces of the spatial sculpture. Each step had several obstacles. The initial generated piece was a connector that splits one input in two outputs. 

Rhino/ Grasshopper_
Rhino has been used to design mounting brackets that would hold the tubes into place. 2 different iterations have been designed, printed, and tested during the construction of the modular tubing solution. One model has been designed with 3D printing in mind and another was specifically measured for 5mm acrylic sheets. The second one was more rigid due to the properties of acrylic and reduced fabrication times, since it has been laser cut. The first one however has been 3D printed using Ultimaker Cura's Special Modes. Spiralizing the Outer Contour and Smoothing the Spiralized Contour allowed for reduced print times and greater flexibility. The brackets could easily bend without losing their rigidity
Grasshopper has been used to design a system of parametric tube joints that form complex tube paths and the whole network for the scent distribution system. The system is constructed from 3 points (middle , top and bottom), that can be multiplied in a polar array, giving the opportunity of creating different types of pipe joints with multiple inputs and outputs. In the process of finding the best size fitting two types of tubes, there were needed to be printed several test cylindrical prints. The parametric patch was created in Rhino 7, because of a new function of Grasshopper called “Multipipe”. The final designs were printed with PLA using Creality's Ender 3 Pro, and the printing time varied form 3hr (a simple 2 to 1 module) to 5hr (a more complex 6 to 1 module). 
Parametric patch structure for tube joints: ​​​​​​​
Screenshot of the Grasshopper script for the modular connectors.
Blender_
Blender has been utilized to produce the growing structures serving the role of output modules for olfactory stimuli. The artifacts produced by Blender's Geometry Nodes system, have been 3D printed using two methods of printing and several materials. The design idea of these artifacts follow the differential edge growth of the original geometry. These specific artifacts originate from a circle with 12 vertices. There are 3 parameters controlling the main shape form, the expression of the detail in the body of the form, and the expression of detail by the end edges of the final shape. For the PLA printing, there was a simplified version of the same parametric patch in order to be in the correct scale and simple enough to be printed with no errors.
Two Ender 3 Pro PLA printers have been utilized for generating a series of growing artifacts [6]. PLA has been chosen as the main fabrication material for the main structural components (see Grasshopper section above) and the growing elements hosted in the central piece. We have chosen PLA over SLA for the more accessible components since the distinctive smell of the cured SLA print would interfere with the generated olfactory stimuli. A series of SLA printed sculptural pieces has been printed and exhibited individually. Those pieces have been carefully chosen from an array of different explorations. An ELEGOO Saturn MSLA 3D Printer has been utilized for the sculptural- non functional forms. [7] 
EIGHT highly detailed sculptural pieces have been printed utilizing the SLA method. The close up images display the accuracy and precision present in those models. The structural components have been retained since they offer an additional level of complexity. The extracted supports have been demonstrated alongside the main pieces giving a sense of a micro ecosystem.
Sketchup_
Sketchup has been used as a drafting platform for generating 3D prototypes. Rhino could serve the same function, however Sketchup has proven to be faster for our purpose. A 3D mockup model of the main artifact was produced in the Sketchup environment which helped to visualize the final form of the object that would integrate the modular scent delivery system. The fast prototyping also served as a way to measure the required materials for this host object. The cylindrical object was supposed to be a 4 layered structure which would hold the main modular extractor tubes together while forming an artistic piece in the center of the exhibition room. The 6 pods are placed at the bottom part while the 3D printed components are placed right above to split the 6 outputs into 12 tubes while streaming the output in two directions. One direction ends up at the top where the clay printed objects will be placed and the other direction connects to the spatial array of tubes. 
AutoCAD_
Due to inconsistences in the draft Sketchup model, AutoCAD has been used for designing a simplified object that would hold the 6 initial medical tubes together. AutoCAD allows for increased accuracy and efficiency in the design process. The patterns have been designed using the ARRAY command. ARRAY allows for arranging multiple copies of the same instance around a specific radius, allowing for the creation of complex patterns that can be fabricated using laser cutters. A laser cutter has been used for the fabrication of several pieces for this project. Firstly, the main ring that supports the 6 medical tubes has been cut. A mistake in the definition of the CAD layers led to the decomposition of the outer ring, since instead of engraving the lines, the laser has cut them. We later realized that those patterns have not been defined as engraving layers. The joints displayed in the screenshot below are holding the upper and the lower pieces together, but they didn't fit the gaps because a more generous allowance was needed to achieve the desired press-fit functionality. Finally, our collaborator Pau Rossello,, has examined our intention to use an Arduino controller to light up the acrylic layers with the activation of each module. This functionality will be implemented in future iterations.
Final Design:
The tree shaped structure emerged in space as seen in the time-lapse video below. A pedestal has been placed in the middle of the room as a reference point. The six scent delivery modules have been positioned on top of the box and they formed a circle. We have utilized 6 medical tubes since to their spiral texture and their increased flexibility allowed for a more controlled bottom structure. The upper part was assembled using approximately 43ft. of 3/4'' OD x 1/2'' vinyl tubes by ACE. The joints and the splitters have been used to form a more complex non linear system. The results can be seen in the pictures below. A series of connectors, joints, splitters, and growing patterns have been exhibited alongside the main structure and videos of the growing patterns in Blender were projection mapped behind the 3D printed flowers. After installing and uninstalling the main piece twice in two weeks we can conclude that the 3D printed elements allowed for different formations and textures in the room. One of the most prominent properties of the structure is the generating atmosphere through casting shadows in the walls. Projections blend with the branches and cast a whole new environment on the surrounding walls, generating an Extended Reality environment made of modular tangible systems, sound, scents, and virtual content. While most projection installation tend to cutout or avoid obstacles, our main scope was to introduce alternative realities inside and around our system by embracing obstacles and shadows.


Possible Futures:
Previous studies have explored the relationship between Russell's Circumplex model of Affect and and Biodata, such as Heart Rate and Variance [8], scents [9], and color perception [10]. Our scope is to extend our research in the fields of Extended Reality and Tangible forms by mining the user's biodata to form comprehensive maps about emotional state that can be translated into transformable environments. Larger data banks could lead to bolder explorations that might refer to a whole building or an urban setting. Our next possible step would be the automation of the design and production process by adopting more generative features. If the environment of a room can be altered through the adoption of tangible media we can speculate on how these methodologies might affect a research area that refers to healthcare environments, constrained spaces, or cultural places.
References: 

1.Posner, J., Russell, J. A., & Peterson, B. S. (2005). The circumplex model of affect: an integrative approach to affective neuroscience, cognitive development, and psychopathology. Development and psychopathology, 17(3), 715–734. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579405050340 
5.Deleuze, Gilles; Guattari, Félix (1987) [1980]. A Thousand Plateaus. Translated by Massumi, Brian. University of Minnesota Press. p. 21. ISBN 0-8166-1402-4.
8.Lang et al. (1993). Looking at pictures: Affective, facial, visceral, and behavioral reactions.
9. Liu et al. (2020). A network model of affective odor perception. 
10. Bartram et al. (2017). Affective color in visualization. 

AlloPlex: Hydnum [Fabrication Process]
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AlloPlex: Hydnum [Fabrication Process]

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