Soft Modular Pneumatic System A Biologically-inspired Smart Building System

by Daekwon Park (MDes ’12)

This thesis investigates the design process of biologically-inspired smart building systems (BISBS) in order to provide guidelines for architects to effectively create a dynamic building system that can respond to and interact with its environment. Within the functional and performance requirements of building systems, biologically-inspired design was explored as the key approach and smart technology was explored as the enabling technology for designing BISBS. Based on this design process, the Soft Modular Pneumatic System (SMPS) was developed as a hands-on design experiment to further test its effectiveness and potentials of BISBS. Similarly to how independent cells coordinate with each other to undergo certain tasks in multicellular systems, the SMPS consists of autonomous modules that collectively achieve assigned functions. Within the soft body of each SMPS module, sensor, actuation, and control components are integrated which enables the module to kinetically respond to and interact with its environment. The modular design and hierarchical assembly logic contribute to creating a flexible as well as robust building system. Throughout the design process, prototyping, simulation, and animation were utilized as an iterative and diversified development method.