Context is King


Below, Skylar Tibbits answers our final question.

Cross-disciplinary approaches have proved useful to gain insight into unknown territories, quickly change scale and application, push past a field's current boundaries and inspire new directions and connections. Varying skills and necessities often become beneficial characteristics for collaboration between domains. Each person can bring insight, real-world application, understanding of production, and specific expertise to complete even the most complicated tasks. Currently, mechanical and electrical engineers, computer scientists, architects, and fabricators are all collaborating on an exciting project at MIT that blurs the lines between programmable matter at minute scales to shape changing and self-organizing human-scale structures. This unique opportunity allows each individual to contribute their skill set while furthering the global project with specific local interests and goals.

On the opposite spectrum, cross-disciplinary approaches may be prohibitive when quickly applied across platforms at new scales and without contextual or informed decisions. These circumstances are far too easily mimicked across platforms and forcefully applied out of context. Regularly, cross-disciplinary approaches are applied for formal applications not interested in the original system's specific criteria. In terms of biological systems, each characteristic has explicit criteria that may not be suited for new scales, climates or applications. The re-wallpapering of existing systems most likely will not function appropriately or adapt for applications for which they were not intended.

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If this video is true then surely we arenât far away from producing programmable matter to some extent. But how long do think it will take to make a suitcase that can turn into a seat?

By Melissa Digitalis (not verified) on 28 Oct 2009 #permalink