August 31, 2009

Dynamic shape-memory-alloy display system

PixelSkin02 explores new possibilities in media augmented surfaces by employing the mechanical properties inherent in shape memory alloys (SMA). In an attempt to bridge the gap between “lifeless” facade automation systems and highly expressive yet functionally thin media facades, Orangevoid’s Sachin Anshuman developed a matrix of interconnected pixel-tiles that are controlled interactively via embedded electronics.

Described as “electrographic architecture,” PixelSkin02 creates a transparent visual field that also generates low-resolution images and low-refresh-rate videos via electromechanical means. Each pixel-tile consists of four triangular panels actuated by 200mA SMA wires. Surface-embedded microcontroller consoles regulate the degree of opening of each panel by adjusting the power supply twenty times per second. Each panel has 255 potential states of adjustment between fully opened or closed, and a technique called “multiplexing” allows for the control of the collection of pixel-tiles in order to create moving patterns and imagery.

Contact: Orangevoid, London, UK.

For more information, see Transmaterial 2: A Catalog of Materials That Redefine our Physical Environment

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