Next Nature: Silk Pavilion by MIT Media Lab
By Gemma Riberti

Merging the digital and natural worlds, MIT Media Lab’s latest project uses robotics and silkworms to create an enormous Silk Pavilion.

Jun 07, 2013
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Merging the digital and natural worlds, MIT Media Lab’s latest project uses robotics and silkworms to create an enormous Silk Pavilion.

The recently unveiled project investigates the interplay of nature and man-made technology to radically transform architectural designs and objects. Researchers analyzed the ways silk worms build cocoons, and used motion-tracking to create a digital model that could mimic the silkworms.

A CNC machine created the base and foundations of the pavilion that comprised 26 polygonal flat panels woven out of one kilometer of fiber. The researchers then arranged the panels into a dome hanging from the ceiling, before placing over 6,000 live silkworms onto the structure to complete the project. Watch the video above to see the silkworms in action.

MIT Media Lab’s research group, Mediated Matter is at the forefront of exploring biologically inspired design fabrication tools and techniques. Their research aims to “establish new forms of design and material practice at the intersection of computer science, material engineering, design and ecology, with broad applications across multiple scales.”

We profile founder and director, Neri Oxman in our recent Influencers report. – Babette Radclyffe-Thomas


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