Every semester, New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) holds a show celebrating its students' creativity by showing off their final projects. Inhabitat got to check out the exhibit last week to peruse all of the designs, which combine technology, sustainable materials and the kind of refreshing ingenuity only seen in student shows. Read on for six of our favorite design projects seen at the show!
Erin Smith’s Growable Gown is an elegant take on using wearable plant matter to create wedding dresses. Made of a mix of tree mulch inoculated with mycelium (microscopic mushrooms), these living sheets of fabric can create a new dress in literally a week. Smith explains that since most brides buy a wedding dress only to wear it once in their lifetime and lock it away in a closet for the next 60 years, why not buy one that’s biodegradable? On top of helping to reduce the amount of linen waste in the world, Smith says growable clothes are also fairly easy to make requiring only a short time to grow, mold into shape, and then bake to stop the fungus from growing.
While the world is going nuts over 3D printing, Sanniti Pimpley thinks 2D printing still has a ways to go, and she’s developed a PrintO-Bot to further the existing technology. It’s essentially an inkjet printer that has been hacked and put on wheels allowing it to print on virtually any flat service. This includes wood, metal, foam, and regular old paper. The best thing about it is that unlike regular printers, it can print on a surface no matter how big it is because it does not need to roll through a restrictive paper tray.
To make it all work, Pimpley installed a secondary electronic board to trick the printer into thinking it was still pushing out paper and converted the energy put into the paper feeding roller to roll the wheels. What’s more, Pimpley also extended the print head to help it reach and print just above any surface you throw at it.
Tunnel Vision App
Transportation apps are dime a dozen in a metropolitan city like New York but perhaps the most useful and beautiful interface we’ve ever seen is Bill Lindmeier’s Tunnel Vision app. Using augmented reality technology, the Tunnel Vision iOS app can turn any regular subway map into an interactive experience. It has a handful of animations showing all the subway routes running throughout the city to a map view of New York that bulges with population density. The app works amazingly fast and we definitely recommend downloading and checking it out here.
We’ve seen plenty of 3D-printed dresses, but did you know there’s more than one type of extruded fabric? Pamela Liou laid out her spread of different 3D-printed textiles at the show. These included the rigid 3D-printed plastic we’re most familiar with; elastoplastic, which is stretchy like Spandex; Makerbot’s clear PLA material for fashionable see through clothing; and lastly, a laser-sintered rope of delicately linked strings. Beyond making clothes, Liou believes these 3D-printed textiles can also be used for other applications including automotive, medical, and architectural.
Of course materials are only half the equation when it comes to designing an object. To demonstrate what can be done with just a few combinations of simple shapes, Wyna Liu created her Fluid Geometry collection. While Liu admits she isn’t really creating anything new with her wooden sculptures, they’re still interesting to look at. Her main creation uses an established penrose shape—which combines a star with a few diamonds to create a solid circle—it’s still a lovely design that lets you prod the art into shape and it will hold its form.
While creating her penrose sculpture, Liu also discovered she could produce an object using just the metal rings clasping together her work. The result was a tightly knit cube of chainmail that can be stretched into all sorts of interesting shapes.
Soil for Air
Erika Hansen Miller is trying to lower the planet’s carbon levels with her Soil for Air project. It might look like a fancy home gardening setup but there’s a research project at the heart of these clear planters. The plants aren’t the key to reducing Earth’s carbon dioxide, but rather it’s an ectomycorrhiza fungus that’s typically found in forests. Soil for Air hopes to create the same soil conditions that will let these fungi take root in a domestic setting and eventually in farms. Thus far, Miller has been able to introduce the bacteria by infusing fava bean seeds with fungus. For her next step, Miller hopes to start a small study group with five or seven people to compare results and crowd-source her research.
Images © Kevin Lee for Inhabitat