The work going on over at the SENSEable City Lab at MIT will really make you think. You might start by simply asking yourself what would happen if little omni lights (think stars in the sky, but much much closer) could move around responsively and dynamically through space — and move transiently in coordination with one another. Well, this direction is what the group over at MIT is working on right now — and their project is called Flyfire.
You may already know what can happen when you start with just one pixel-like point when working with computers to design architecture in programs like AutoCAD or 3D Studio Max. But, what will happen when when that pixel-like point becomes more of an omni light in real life— a three-dimensional point in space that has the ability to harmonize with others of its own type?
For starters, these little hovering lights can be orchestrated to yield not only two-dimensional displays that light up in a rainbow of colors, but can further align themselves into three-dimensional free-forms or sculptures. It kind of gets one thinking about what might happen, from an experiental point of view, if people could literally walk-through light displays, where architectural boundaries become not only transient, but also immersive — bringing what was mostly only possible in virtual worlds into real-world space.
In real life, these illuminated light points in space are no longer solely “fixed” due to gravity, being tied to a suspending cable or other means. Instead, they can fly by hovering and acting almost like a flock of birds — giving you, as a designer, a new way to think about the lighting design of an architectural experience.
Additionally, by adding other factors like color, narrative, personalization and so on, I see that the research developments of Flyfire hold tremendous potential for architects that may want to integrate a high-tech interactive fabric to immerse occupants by appealing to their senses in some fresh and exciting ways. I can see that such a collection of “flying” lights might make occupants feel like they are swimming above water, traveling through a beautiful display assembled just for them, which perhaps you as a designer created by quite literally embedding rules by which to move those geometries around.
To take a closer look at how Flyfire works, simply watch the video below:
This 31 minute masterclass will forever change how you think about environments.