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December 4, 2006

A Relation?? Oh Wait... I See it Now :)

Neil Gershenfeld started a program at MIT entitled “How to Make (almost) Anything?. The main focus of this class was for the students to develop and fabricate things on a personal level of need (or possibly want). The point of this creator personalization is because the use of a portable personal space for screaming is not on high demand. The drive behind the students work for to make things they had always fanaticized about, but don’t fully exist.

Louis Kan on the other hand writes on a scholarly level as to the importance of light and silence and how they interact with an environment. Attempting then to relate these differing concepts has possibly resulted in a far-fetched conclusion. Products are often the result of a necessity of a group of people. Kahn felt that when a identified need is addresses, no satisfaction could come out of the solving process. It is only when you are solving for an unknown necessity that a person can feel fulfilled at the end of the process.
Kahn also stated that the personalization of a thing is important because it takes on a type of form that is understood through nature. The forms these ideas begin to take shape as are represented in different manners. Because of the fact that the idea of a form is very unique to the person who originated the design, no two people could come up with the same finalized product. This is because the influences incorporated in an individual’s life are not the same from person to person. Through these ideas of form and design, Kahn believes that if we were all able to make our imagined thoughts into tangible products our environments may never develop and evolve. This is where Gershenfeld’s ideas come into play and how he feels that the production of imagined items is something we have to embrace as happening

Technopoly of Automated Transit

The concept behind technopolies is complex on many levels. It seems to me that the main goal behind Technology is to evolve the workings of a process so that it is more efficient than what existed before. A washer, dyer, microwave, dishwasher, and car are all examples of such a progression from manual labor to aided completion. Technology has been moving along at a rapid rate of reproduction. This advanced thinking and development of new technology has begun to move in a direction that now requires little to no aid from humans. This is seen through the example of automated transit.

The automated transit system, for example, found at the many large airports carry people from stop to stop without a driver or conductor involved in this process. It is all automated from some type of computer system. The simplicity of this concept is clear; no drivers are needed so in the long-run less money is spent on paying someone to actively operate the machine.

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However, this process does have its flaws (as seen from personal experience). While traveling over Thanksgiving vacation I had the opportunity to ride on the AirTrain at San Francisco International Airport. At one particular stop, a large group of people awaited to board the train. They began to file into the cars but seemingly not at a quick enough pace because less than two minutes later, the doors abruptly began to close, trapping an elderly woman between the doors. At this time, the automated voice of the AirTrain sternly reported “Please clear the doorway. You are delaying the departure of this train?.

There is no other way to draw a conclusion here but to say this… If an actual person was operating the train, I doubt this would have happened. The flaw with automated machines like this is that they are programmed to only execute a particular set of situations. They do not know that instead of giving an elderly woman a stern lecture about making people late, it should hold the doors a few moments longer for her to comfortably enter the train safely.

As another student in discussion mentioned, a similar avenue is being explored in the area of automated surgery. What if the body happened to move slightly from the configuration the machine was set to respond to? This could cause serious damage and personally isn’t worth the risk. Concepts like these make me wonder how far our advancements with technopolies will go and if they will also evolve a better way to respond to the natural unknowns in life.

Mathematics and Design

The idea of mathematics and its relation to design is a rather interesting topic to have explored. Through the process of designing a house, let’s say, the presence of mathematical factors are rather predominate and clear to point out. For example, the formula behind the proper rise and run of a stair case, the use of triangles to better strengthen a structure as well as the use of 90 degree angles to make walls stay erect.

Mathematics can often defy all norms and odds to create some rather interesting and inconceivable designs. This can be seen through the craftsmanship of the weaver bird, the cliff swallow and the crested cassiques. These birds have developed a mystifying system to build their nests on the edge of all limitations and near points of destruction. There is evidently a formula of some sort that keeps these nests from collapse or crumble. I believe that this mathematical system is achieved through the use of the proper ratios of numerous light weight materials and adhesives. It must also be noted that the mass of the birds themselves is an important factor. This is because though a bird may seem larger in size; their over-all weight is not too significant due to the fact that their feathers have hollow stems.

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