Fluid Lattices

Self-Assembly Lab, MIT
Project Leads: Skylar Tibbits, Baily Zuniga, Carrie McKnelly, Athina Papadopoulou

Fluid Self-Organization is part of a series of investigations by MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab looking at autonomous assembly in complex and uncontrolled environments (water, air, space etc). In this experiment, independent modules are released in a 200 and 500- gallon tank and self-organize into a complete lattice structures based on the interactions of the elements and the pattern of energy in the system. The structures can then be removed, tested, used or disassembled and thrown back into the chamber. We are interested in a future scenario of “Evolutionary Fabrication” whereby materials can self-organize into optimal configurations based on the dynamics of the system. This comes in contrast to today’s fabrication processes (printing, milling, lasercutting etc) where a design is sent to a machine and an output is produced rather than letting the system propose new and potentially better solutions/mutations. 

This project is a collaboration with Arthur Olson, Autodesk Inc., Center for Bits and Atoms, Institute for Computational Design, University of Stuttgart.

This project was funded in part by MIT's International Design Center (IDC).