Silk structures


Solenoid-driven thread tensioner mechanism.


Over Jan-term 2018, I started working at the Media Lab with the Mediated Matter group. I’m working on an version 2.0 of the silk pavilion made several years ago [Vimeo]. While the previous structure was constructed from 2D panels assembled into a 3D shape, the current project fabricates a 3D tensegrity structure.

Things I worked on:

  • Built and wrote code for a zero-ing mechanism on an applicator tool to selectively coat a string with some liquid. This was tested with a sharpie.
  • Designed and built a string tensioner device to control the tension of the string while it’s being wound around the structure.
    • Waterjetted an aluminum housing to mount device.
    • Integrated it into the main fabrication device.
    • Milled a PCB circuit, soldered components, and 3d printed an enclosure.
  • Looked at alternative designs to a telescoping rod that was then used to guide the string around the fixed poles. The goal was to have a stiff yet collapsible tool in order to utilize as much space as possible in height-constrained rooms.
  • Explored a pumped water thermal system as a way to control silkworm behavior with cold and hot temperatures.