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Computational Textile and Soft Computational Materials

In the next 20 years research work in lightweight and soft building materials using textiles will include computational textiles and soft computational materials. These are textiles and materials that respond to commands through computer programming, electronics and sensors or may gather and store energy. These materials may also include soft materials and textiles which change their state without the use of electronic signals and commands. They may transform by humidity, temperature, light or air for example. These materials open up new avenues to consider when conceiving of and designing architecture and change how architects, engineers, artists and other designers understand space and so spark new cultural formations and social structures. It will be increasingly important for architects and designers to test run these materials ‘in the wild’ so to speak to understand the ethics, implications and potentials of using computational materials. Faculty and students in this research area in the Design and Computation Group examine how lightweight and soft computational materials and computational textiles are made and /or manufactured, how the material itself is used and the ways in which it may be applied in architecture, furnishings and clothing. In this area of research a variety of scales are examined as today even Nano scaled elements or computational clothing can have profound effect in environments. In addition to producing/testing/creating artifacts made with soft computational materials and textiles in this research area faculty and students develop theories and methods about how designers might re-consider ideas of materiality in general.