Intelligent Wave

Research Centre: Fabrication and Material Technologies Lab;
Active Dates: 1 November 2014 – 28 February 2015

Project team:
PI: Yan Gao, Assistant Professor, HKU
co-PI: Xin Guo, Assistant Professor, The Shenzhen University
co-PI: Victor Leung, PhD Candidate, MIT

Project funder: Shanghai MoMA


This project investigated a more design-orientated making process while embracing the emerging robotic technologies. Such proposition unfolds into a research project, i.e. the “Intelligent Wave”. The project went through the three stages including the physical experimentation, the computational simulation, and the design & making of a robotic structure in the end. The research process synthesizes abstract geometries, Complex System theory, 3D print, and the automatic control through computational protocols. The core objective of the Intelligent Wave project is to achieve a kinetic structure with simple rule-based component system that generates complex surface behavior. The breakthrough of this robotic structure is that, the unified cells that are repeatedly connected under the triangulation principles and geometric constrains, are able to generate infinite global reconfigurations of both the spatial structure and the unpredictable geometric pattern. The emerging reconfigurations starts when the equilibrium is broken by external forces, while the whole assembly freezes when the structure finds its new equilibrium after the external force ceases. Such behavior is scripted into digital modelling techniques and animations before the realization of the program-controlled structure. Instead of using dynamic pistons, the transformation is achieved through the sequential local sliding and rotation which trigger the global surface transformation into either concave or convex. The ongoing article compares the above research project with the typical robotic architecture and categorizes the concurrent experiments of robotic applications in architectural research. This research project embraces the design intelligence for a more holistic perspective in multiple dimensions, in order to explore the design opportunities while expanding architects’ territories.

Anticipated outcomes and outputs:

A conference paper that will lead to a journal paper

Exhibition in Robotic Future, 10th Shanghai International Biennale




Enlarge Photo: Intelligent Wave 1Enlarge Photo: Slide02Enlarge Photo: Slide04Enlarge Photo: Slide05Enlarge Photo: Slide06Enlarge Photo: Slide07Enlarge Photo: Slide09Enlarge Photo: Slide12Enlarge Photo: Slide13