Tag Archives: Media and Design Laboratory

Exploring digital fabrication through an Arduino-based foam structure

This student assignment explores the relationship between digital and material-based digital fabrication. 

A team of students from the Media and Design Laboratory LDM, EPFL / SINLAB recently designed a project that explored the relationship between digital and material-based digital fabrication through an n-hedron structure composed of soap that is blown, through a mixture of air and helium, into a foam structure.


Inspired by direct observations of nature’s beauty in the form of thin films, the installation — dubbed Transient Materialization — aspired to take architecture beyond the creation of static forms and into the design of dynamic, transformable and ephemeral material experimental processes.

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According to its creators, the project questioned a structure’s materiality by examining its physical performance and ephemeral characteristics. In order to do this, the group presented various configurations of dynamic and transformable foam structures. This fabrication interacted with an algorithm, which involved a mixture of air and helium (controlled by pneumatic valves) and additive chemical substances and thickening agents. Meanwhile, the machine itself was powered by an Atmel based Arduino and Processing. Watch it in action below.

Interested in learning more? You can read all about the project on its official page here.