The shiny silver quality of mylar called to my inner magpie. I knew it would be easy for me to get lost in making just aesthetic creations, so I tried really hard with my experiments to think about the functional quality of mylar and inflatables.
Experiment 1: Lift and Movement
For this experiment I made simple small circle shapes but thought about how it would act underneath a flat surface. It is easy to see how inflating can lift a surface upwards. However, in future interactions I think this would translate well with programmable air. I couldn’t get my hands on tubing to make this work how I wanted, but I would be really curious to see if blowing up each of the circles at different times could cause the board to move. I predict a sort of shimmy movement or it it remains stationary and just create diff surface levels.
Experiment 2: Claws
Still intrigued by the idea of movement, I loved looking at the inflatable gripping robots and wanted to experiment with mylar’s ability to curve.
The first claw uses a technique similar to the example in class, using a long slender shape with tacts along the middle, however I made the tact lines really thin and close together. The “fingers” however, were too long and didn’t quite get the closure I was looking for.
The second claw, has shorter fingers and the tact spread slightly further apart. This one has a much better closing look to it, but the “fingers” still don’t touch. It definitely wouldn’t be able to pick anything up. I think length matters a lot in terms of how the fingers will close and the way inner walls are constructed would make a big difference in how curved the mylar can form.
Experiment 3: Temperature retention
I read up on mylar and learned that because of its reflective surface, mylar is often used to keep things cool. I wanted to test this by using the inflated mylar around a glass with an ice cube. Which would melt first?
BIO-INSPIRATION: PARASITIC FUNGI
I recently watched an episode of Planet Earth, which featured a segment on parasitic fungi. I apologize for the graphic nature of such a choice and for the photograph depicted here, but it was just so fascinating to me I wanted to write about it. There exists many different types of fungi that pray on insects, infect their brains, kill them, and then grow out of their bodies. It is truly a horrific survival tactic, and almost so sci-fi it is hard to believe it exists in nature. The reason I think it would be interesting to transfer over to technology is because of the idea that it can spawn from any “shell”. When you think about it, this sort of exists in terms of softwares, which we can install into different machines. Or perhaps computer viruses emulate this biological example as well. However, what if we could do this with hardware as well. I’m imagining something a step further than something modular, that really emphasizes the emergent growth. Wouldn’t it be cool to have electronics that attach to different kinds of bases and self install/grow/learn/evolve? I’m not exactly how this would work or how to translate the tech from the bio-inspiration, but the fact that the fungi spreads by hijacking existing systems is really intriguing to me. It would nice to transfer it to technology with a more positive connotation.