Quadricone model


Quadricone, Bühne A, Zurich, November 2012

Quadricone is an interactive structure that reacts to the activity of surrounding wireless networks, reshaping the space it entangles. The Quadricone project is a research through several iterations of interactive prototypes which consist of ‘cones’ and dynamically reshape according to the amount of traffic going through WiFi access points in the surrounding.

This second prototype introduces more complexity when compared to RKNFG, but on a smaller scale. This model 1m long and 50cm wide has stretchable fabric laid over a wooden board, and picked up by motors at four points. The motors are attached to vertical frames, set at equal distances along the longer side of the model. The distribution of the pick-up points is arbitrary, as it isn’t mapping the properties of networks by intensity nor geographically. However, each point is assigned to one wireless network available in the space. The points are pulled up or down, creating bigger or smaller ‘cones’ in the surface of the stretchable fabric.

When it was presented at Stage digital research symposium, three to four wireless networks were available for use in the space. One was an ad-hoc network used by another piece to communicate between devices. Others were open or set up for the symposium. In this way, direct interaction with the structure was not only possible but also quite intuitive. There was a clear feedback between the use of a network and the intensity with which the motor would pull a ‘cone’ peak up. One could clearly see when they were connected to a particular network and created a lot of traffic on it. More people could take part in this, adding to the complexity of the shape. Raising one or another cone higher and higher would change the look of the whole surface and when another peak would take over the deformation became more complex. The fabric thus acted as a kind of interactive skin. Finally, the model offered more of a bird’s eye view on the phenomenon as it’s scale limited immersion to imagination capacities of the observers.


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